Start. Period. Too.
For the past year I've been tangled in the mechanics of writing and publishing Finish. Period. Going the Distance in Ministry. There's some comment in the first chapter about our cultural obsession with beginnings and our attention deficit with finishing. It's true of careers, relationships, marriages, various commitments, and church involvements. But, then, there's also another layer of national hyperactive tendencies: it's just plain procrastination, that is, having a selective memory that generally procrastinates. As a culture we're great starters, that is, in the arenas that spark our interests. In the more mundane and less glamorous areas, we're slackers.
Finishing strong, well, and period are important metrics for busy people. Just the same, the finishing part only applies to those who have started in the first place. And, today, most of us have a to do list that can't be finished because it never got started. Life traction and movement are significant disciplines for people trapped in the inertia of inaction. Getting started in the hard places is another deal.
So, Sunday being the first day of the week to those of us conditioned by traditional values, is a good day to consider the Start. Period. Too. idea. Putting things in motion on day one may provide the impetus for some momentum in the days to follow. So, what the deal with starting?
1. Spiritual grounding is a good first step.
Let's agree that humans are spiritual and need spiritual nourishment to be
whole. I'm one of those boomers with a childhood drug problem---my
parents drug me to church throughout my years in their household. Our
children were subjected to that same abuse and I'm thankful to know their
faith grounding saw them through college and into adult life. As evangelical
Christians the grounding of life occurred on the first day of the week,
Sunday, also designated the Lord's Day in the early church. What better
catalyst for Start. Period. Too. living than worshiping, learning, sharing
fellowship with other believers of common faith, and preparing for the
exigencies of these demanding times.
2. People with a strong faith orientation usually start well.
Active growing faith usually generates traits of responsibility, commitment,
faithful living, strong civic and social awareness, and the needs of others, all
character development that makes starting more compatible with busy
living. It also instills discernment that prevents over-commitment and saying
yes to things of little personal value to our personal belief systems.
3. Strong faith helps us deal with approval addiction.
One of the prime factors in becoming over-obligated is that many people
can't say no to others because we need their approval. In the active practices
of faith we learn to please our Master, in my case Jesus Christ the Lord, and
to be at ease with the expectations of others. As the Apostle Paul wrote to
If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.
Galatians 1:10, ESV
The life dynamics of starting and finishing are essential to the well-lived life. Once again, the Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians with a note about his counsel to his colleague Titus---
Accordingly, we urged Titus that as he has started, so he should complete
among you this act of grace.
2 Corinthians 8: 6, ESV
He was talking about the grace of giving in support of the impoverished believers in Jerusalem. But, the principle is strong in every life endeavor. Start. Then, finish.
So, on Sundays, the first day of the week, and the Lord's day, I'll be jotting some thoughts about Start. Period. Too. We cannot finish what we don't start.
Finish. Period. is meaningful only when we learn to Start. Period. Too.