Mondo bizarro & quitting
Mondo bizarro has certainly activated the pause button on many goals, objectives, and to do lists this year. Of course, the velocity, complexity, and mobility of exponential times had already transformed us into a culture of also-rans and quitters. Before 2020 the good old American work ethic throbbed the cadence of daily life. We started much but let a good bit of it slide because our plates were in reality too full. Covid-19, election 2020, and the other disruptions of mondo bizarro have given us genuine justification for clearing the calendar and eliminating a few less essential commitments. But, kids, there are still 29 days left in 2020 and some of these abandoned projects need completion before the new year flashes on our screens.
So meet Russian psychologist Bluma Zeignarnik. He did extensive research on the effect of unfinished business on life. The Zeignarik Effect measures the influence of projects, assignments, or aspirations that are incomplete. His work discovered that the human brain continues to remember and function around plans that have not been closed. Perhaps the Zeignarik Effect explains the nagging tug of unresolved goals and actions as we near year end. So, today we're in the final stretch of 2020 and have twenty-nine days to remove these lingering tasks from our to-do lists.
What are these things we typically leave undone. You know, the diet we meant to begin back in January; the long list of friends we haven't contacted in years; the automobile maintenance that flashes lights at us when we drive; the must-read book that's been on the bed-side table all year; the rest we promised to get over the weekend; the stressed relationship we should resolve; the doctors appointment we've been meaning to make; and so many others. We humans usually have a long list of things we want to accomplish ASAP. Still, circumstances intervene. The needs of the moment force us to set our goals and objectives aside. Now, nearing year end, it's the Zeignarik Effect, the brain function that doesn't let go all that easily.
OK, finishing is a personal fixation, perhaps the outflow of being somewhat OCD (look it up). My book Finish Period: Going the Distance in Ministry examines the biblical and spiritual directives regarding pastors and spiritual leaders enduring hardship and conflict in ministry and seeing it through. Of course, the truths in the ministry subset are reliable direction that influence every life experience. Finishing period is lifestyle adjustment for many of us. Forget about finishing strong or well. Finish period is the deal at year end. And, it is a strong biblical theme---
So now finish doing it as well, so that your readiness in desiring it may be matched by your completing it out of what you have.
2 Corinthians 8: 11, ESV
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
Philippians 1: 6, ESV
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
2 Timothy 4: 7, ESV
Better is the end of a thing than its beginning, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.
Ecclesiastes 7: 8, ESV
So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.
James 4: 17, ESV
The backstory of unfinished things at year end is the nagging reality of good intentions versus life reality. Sure, back in January, 2020, we could not envision mondo bizarro. The weirdness of 2020 wasn't on our radar screens. But, there it is. And, many things on our plan list have been shoved aside and left undone. Some are inconsequential. Others involve life necessities. Bear down and finish them.
Mondo bizarro has yielded a new crop of quitters. So, there are twenty-nine days. Let's get 'er done.