This will be the final post of a series of three posts called, “Start. Don’t Stop. Finish.” If you didn’t read Start. or Don’t Stop., I think you should start there and don’t stop until you’ve finished them both. (Can that corny joke work for two posts in a row?)
I will begin by being very transparent with you. I almost quit this week. Yup, Christen Diane Rouson – your pusher, your motivator, your coach – was ready to throw in the towel. As I have been encouraging you, I too have been pressing towards a few goals of my own. I am actively taking steps towards publishing a book and recording music; both of which will be released in summer 2018. (Yay!) I have literally been walking this journey along side you. When I said, “Start,” I was doing just that. I was finally taking all of the data that I meticulously gathered and putting motion to the assignment God gave me. When I said, “Don’t Stop,” I was talking to me too; pushing myself not to get discouraged. And now I’m back to tell you to “Finish,” and this is a pill that I had to swallow first. I always take the advice that I give to you. Better yet, this According to Chris is in some ways a personal journal filled with advice for me that you are allowed to read, and it is my hope that you are helped as you flip its pages.
So anyway, I was feeling really good about the progress that I had been making. I was sending emails, making phone calls, requesting contracts, moving and shaking, and then I hit a rough patch. *insert frustration* I was so enamored with things going well that I wasn’t prepared when there was a detour. I can’t get into detailed actual factuals, but let’s just say I wasn’t too excited about the [lack of] professionalism that I experienced from some individuals who are instrumental components to the success of my projects…or so I thought. I had built my entire plan around receiving their help, and when it seemed like I would have to deviate from that plan, I began to revert to my default settings: frustration, fear, and ultimately the decision to just quit. BUT just as I was ready to settle into those feelings, God yoked me up by the collar. What you must know is that God has been working on me to change my default settings from fear to faith (another blog for another day), so “feeling some kind of way” was unacceptable. I had to put my big girl panties on and choose. Either I was going to have a tantrum because things weren’t going my way and quit, or I was going to determine that I was going to finish NO MATTER WHAT. What do you think I chose? I have made the decision to press forward and trust that despite the obstacles, detours, and speed bumps, I MUST FINISH!
“I am sure of this, that he who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 1:6 [Christian Standard Bible]
(Thus is reading of the word…for the third and final time.)
THE MORAL OF THE STORY
The first week I told you that God is in your start.
Next I told you that your work is good, and God will carry this.
Today I want to assure you that your finish is certain.
“How did you come up with that, Chris?” Thank you for asking!
So as I was having my five minute temper tantrum because of a glitch in the journey that I hadn’t accounted for, I began questioning myself, God, and everything else. I started asking questions like, “What am I even doing anyway? Why would I go on a limb and try this? What was I thinking?” Then I began saying stuff like, “If it were really God’s will for me to do this, things would have just gone smoothly for me.” Okay before you judge me, judge your 4th grade gym teacher. I KNOW I am not the only believer, let alone human being, that has said some pretty dumb things in a moment of frustration. Truth be told, NOTHING comes without a measure of responsibility and/or work. How dare I look at the assignment that I KNEW was DIRECTLY from God and question if I was really in his will or not? Bye, Felicia! Anyway, in that moment of tempering and tantruming, God said something to me that went a little like this…
Have you forgotten that I AM the alpha and the omega? I am the beginning and the end. I am literally the start and the finish. I AM THE FINISH! So you’re worried if and how you will finish something that I told you to start. I repeat, that I told you to start. Have I not sustained you up until this point? So why would I withhold my hand and the help that you will need to finish what I instructed you to start? Just follow the instructions I gave you, and you’ll end up walking right into me… The Finish!
I imagine that God rolled his eyes at me a few times…
*big sigh* The scripture above says the one who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion. Unlike us, who have only a hope but no guarantee of the finished results, God is already privy to the details. It is like the an author or, better yet, a playwright. Because they wrote the story, they are aware how the story ends. I can’t tell you how many times I found this to be true as I acted in stage plays and listened to the audience’s responses. The audience watched the script come alive with no idea of what is coming next while the playwright and director sat sure that all the tension would lead to a turning point and ultimately a resolution. All I’m trying to say is God is not nervous about the twists and turns of this story or even your reaction to them because he already knows how this ends for you. He already knows the completion. Please understand that “FINISH” is already recorded in the will of God for your life. Your finish is certain. Okay?
When I was growing there was a popular game called Mortal Kombat. As I fought my opponent (the computer), his character would lose strength with each one of my punches that connected. Once my opponent was practically stumbling around, a voice would holler, “FINISH HIM!” And with one more finishing move, I’d END and WIN the fight!
Alright, point blank and period… I’m going to talk to you like the pusher that I am. You have come too far and done too much to not just finish this thing. Are you really settled on this being a waste of your time as if you have much more of that in stock? I doubt it, darling. You’ve already invested your time, hope, intentions, and money into this God-given assignment. As a matter of fact, you’ve probably already taken a few blows in the the press to get to the end of this. Do you want this tiredness and these battle scars to be for nothing? So you’re really saying that you’re willing to get this close and not complete it? I know you may be frustrated by the deviation from your plans. Fine! Ask God what to do and keep it moving. Okay, so maybe your money is funny. Laugh at it and go to your source, Jehovah Jirah – God your provider. He is short on ways to get this paid for. Maybe your support fell of along the way. Get you a party hat and one of those horns. Have yourself a private party and clap for your own durn self! Whatever you do, don’t get right to the finish line and stop running. END AND WIN! Finish.
I hope this helps.