“All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.” Hebrews 12:11 NASB
I’ve always been a starter. At any given moment I will have several projects going at one time. I have great ideas and as long as I have a deadline and the project is for someone else, I could always manage to get it done. But whenever I began something for me-a diet, exercise, bible study, a book, etc.-then I started strong, but never finished. My motivation just fizzled and the activity or goal fell to the wayside. Sure, I felt a little guilty, but not enough to muster up the motivation to try it again.
The first big achievement that has helped me learn how to become a finisher was living a year pornography free. I kept tally marks in the back of my journal for every day I was clean. Some days when the battle was raging, the only thing that kept my focus was the idea that if I screwed up I would have wasted 143 tally marks and would have to start all over again. The day that I made it to one year, I called my counselor and asked her if she would join me for lunch to celebrate my success. She understood what a big deal that was and met me. That was when I really began seeing that I could be a finisher.
The next big area was when I was pregnant with my first son. I cut out diet drinks and drank only water (super hard). Then I had Gestational Diabetes those last 6 weeks. I had no choice but to eat right. I had to virtually cut sugar and carbs out of my diet. Afterwards though, after I stopped mourning my food, I realized that my body felt so good eating right that I began eating better on a consistent basis. That was probably one of the best things that could have happened, looking back.
Each battle I started and finished has given me the courage to start and finish even more things. I’ve started writing and I make time for it almost every day. So when I started running (2012), based on my NEW track record, I knew I could do it (and I sure as heck didn’t want to have to start over!). I ran a 5K, 10K, 15K and a half marathon. In the beginning I had a running partner, but when I trained for the half marathon, it was just me; so I HAD to discipline myself. I had to want it. I started it. And I finished it. But I know I could not have done it without God teaching me about discipline and self-control over these past few years.
I have always been known by friends as flighty, late, goofy, having great ideas, and not having follow through. I seriously want to change that. I also think that as Christians, we should be able to live consistent lives in every area so that we can teach others how be finishers in Christ. I don’t know if you all can identify with this, but I hope that you are not only great starters, but also great finishers. This season you are in will get better, but in reality it will never completely end this side of heaven. We will be in constant battles with sin as long as we live, but I pray that you will fight the good fight and finish well.
God, consistency has not been one of my strong suits, neither has discipline or self-control. I know that apart from you I will never be able to master sin and honor you with my life. Please teach me to not only start things, but to finish things. Show me how to mend broken trust relationships because of my lack of consistency. Teach me how to be dependable, reliable and to represent you well in all that I do.