I feel like I begin often. If I’m honest, I’m a great starter-upper, but not such a great follow-througher. Maybe it’s that the follow through requires discipline that I don’t have, or maybe it’s that I never should have started whatever that thing was to begin with.
Whatever the reason, I’ve realized that while beginnings are great and shiny and wonderful, real dreams require the follow through to actually work.
This past year was another beginning, and another, and another.
It was the year I actually stopped counting which house move number it was because keeping track just seems so exhausting. After ten moves does it really matter? It could be eleven or eighty-seven, but the point is we began again. We started over in a new school district that seemed more promising for my son, who was diagnosed with learning disabilities earlier in the year.
It was the year I started a not-yet-successful connection ministry to help ladies connect with others. (Translation: help women find friends, because *I* needed friends, so surely others did too, right?)
It was the year I poured into and over and around for friends who were hurting and searching.
It was also the year that, after pouring out into everyone else’s encouragement bucket so much for so long, my own encouragement bucket seemed to spring a leak.
I walked into the Christian counselor’s office and cried for an hour about the person I thought I was. I mourned for the motivation I no longer had and the inspiring posts I no longer had the inspiration to write. Shamefully, I wondered what people would think if they knew I was sitting in her office. (An encourager needing encouragement – the horrors!)
I told her how, as hard as I tried, I didn’t know how to get that bucket-filling girl back, let alone do all the encouraging, inspiring things she had done. Frankly, I didn’t care to get her back. The vessel I’d used to fill the emotional buckets of everyone else (including myself) was shattered in a million tiny pieces.
An hour of blubbering later, she nodded and said, “Okay. Let’s meet again in a few weeks.”
I knew I was broken. I wanted a magic wand to fix me and put me back together again but all she gave me was a nod and a mint as I walked out. (So I could leave a peppermint-scented trail as I rode off on my broomstick?) I didn’t leave her office feeling better. In fact, I felt worse because I’m not a cryer. I am the one who pats everyone else on the back as they cry, and here I was in the office of a stranger, ugly crying and single-handedly keeping Kleenex in business.
Somewhere in the course of the next few days I was having a little talk with the Lord. Except it was mostly me doing all the talking, angrily kicking myself for losing my mojo while simultaneously asking God why He would even need [ahem] “my services” anymore, since I had nothing to offer.
I knew that He loved me. But to know He loved me wasn’t enough. I needed to know that He needed me.
My heart needed confirmation that even though all of my own goals had already been met, He still had more work for me to do. I needed to know there was something at the end of wait. I needed to know that He had goals for me beyond what I had for myself.
It was then that the whisper came right into my heart.
He who began a good work in you is faithful and just to complete it.
I was reminded ever so gently that God doesn’t start a project only to discard it and walk away in lieu of the next shiny thing. I may be an expert in beginnings. But not God. He is an expert in beginning, continuing, and finishing. He is faithful to keep working in us even when we’re ready to throw in the towel.
That simple truth – that He’s not done with us, and is continually working in and through us – allowed me to begin again, refreshed and renewed with the understanding that I am not only loved, but needed. It has given me the freedom to not only continue working on past projects, and prayerfully consider new projects, but to also wait for the next task, trusting that a restful period now does not mean God has nothing for my future.
If you, like me, have thought of throwing in the towel… don’t. God’s not done with you, even if you don’t have an assignment at the moment. Maybe the road has been rough and full of rejection and mocking and doubt and you’re not even sure you want to keep going. Think about this passage from Jeremiah 18 and remember, it’s okay to begin again.
So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.
Yes, the potter started. Yes, the potter started over when he saw the clay had strayed too far from his vision. But the beautiful thing is, the potter never took his hands off the clay. Even when he began again, the clay was never out of the potter’s grasp. Yes, we may have started a project or assignment and then stopped. Maybe that stoppage is just God redirecting us to something even more beautiful. But either way, He’ll never let you go.
You are loved… and needed.
Shared by: Karen Sipps