Tuesday, January 21, 2014

I Just Want to Finish Well!

            Once again, I found myself in a small funk last month, feeling like I can’t accomplish anything.  Can’t give any one thing the effort and time it needs.  I am so stretched-thin in places.  The housework never gets done.  The construction never gets done.  There’s not enough money to fix this place up.  My cooking has seen better days.  There’s not enough time to do everything I want when it comes to homeschooling, so, of course, my boys are going to grow up to be great big drains on society. 

            I was feeling a little panicked that things were slipping away from me too fast, that I couldn’t get a grip on anything.  And then I picked up a movie from the library that really settled my heart.  Flywheel.  It’s an older one, the first one done by the people who made Courageous and Facing the Giants.  And I have to say that . . . it . . . is . . . good!  It’s really good, even if it’s a little old and primitive.
            But the thing that sticks with me the most from it was a line (it might have been in past tense, but I switched it to present tense): “I just want to finish well.”  This guy in the movie was looking at losing his business, but he had turned his heart to the Lord and desired only that the Lord’s Will be done, whatever it happened to be.  His job was just to “finish well.”
            I needed that reminder, that encouragement.  I needed to remember that God will take our messes and work them out for good, if we will just obediently follow Him.  Even when things look bleak, with no hope in sight, no way out, nothing to feel proud of, our job is just to set our hearts and minds on “finishing well.”    
            To me, “I just want to finish well” is about being obedient to the end, doing the job we are called to do to the best of our ability and for God’s glory, and letting God handle the things we can’t handle.  It’s about letting Him direct our paths and shape the outcome, even if it doesn’t make sense to us.  And it’s not about which place we finish in; it’s about how well we run the race. 
            If we are doing this, then we are doing what we need to do.  We don’t have to take responsibility for the things outside of our control.  We don’t have to “do it all.”  We don’t get to do God’s job.  Our job is to follow and let Him lead.  And as long as we are obediently, faithfully doing our job for His glory, we will “finish well” in God’s eyes.  And that’s what should matter most to us, more than if we “finish well” in other people’s eyes.              
            I know that others may not think I am a success. All they may see is the run-down house, the kids still in pajamas, the mismatched mittens, the messy kitchen and all the million other things that I can’t seem to finish or do right.  But God sees me differently.  God sees a heart that desires to glorify Him, that cries out to Him, that reaches for Him, and that longs to please Him.  He sees hands that busily work all day trying to faithfully do the menial jobs that come with raising a family, because I know that this is where He has planted me in this season of my life.  He sees my efforts to learn contentment and thankfulness and gracefulness and humility, my heart's desire to reach out to others and share His love with them.  I may not be much in the eyes of others, but God sees me differently.
            I wrote that wonderful movie line on some flowery stationary and taped it on a pencil jar that I keep in my kitchen.  And now every time I clean the kitchen or cook a meal, I see the sentence and smile.  And I take a deep breath and let out a huge sigh of relief.  Because I don’t need to worry about all that I can’t do.  I don’t need to know where all this is going.  I don’t need to be responsible for the things outside my control.  And it doesn’t matter which place I finish in.  It just matters how I run the race.  “I just want to finish well!”