I anxiously stood by the time clock occasionally glancing to check the time. I was only one minute away from one of my greatest accomplishments. After a treacherous 60 seconds which felt more like an eternity, I positioned my hand in the holster of the time clock ready to do what I had done four nights a week for the past 22 months. After a push of a few buttons and the lifting of my hand, I heard for the last time, “Successful verification.” I had done it… I finished.
| Grace to Finish |
If you have been following my blogs for some time, at least for the last few weeks, you know that I had been pressing to the finish line of cosmetology school. Well, I am pleased to announce that as of 5:45 p.m. on Tuesday, January 29, 2019, that journey is complete! I couldn’t be happier. I tried my hardest to choose a different topic to write about today, but it only seemed natural that I share the revelation of one of my greatest moments with you all who have, in some ways, been on this journey with me. I will do my level best to be brief today. I know I said that last week, but I really mean it this week.
(I just deleted a paragraph of fluff, by the way. I’m trying!)
This has been one of the most rewarding and challenging journeys that I have ever embarked upon. Quite a few of my previous blogs chronicle my long days, restless nights, tired body, failing social life, and hard pushes to keep it moving. This last month has proven to be the most difficult month of all for me. I set a goal that I wanted to finish school before January ended, and by the grace of God, I did just that. Ironically, though I could finally see the finish line when I began this last month of classes, I was almost too tired to get there. My only motivation was the commitment that I made to myself to finish this month, so I took two extra classes each week and pushed my already tired body to the to limits that may have been unhealthy. Somewhere near the middle of the month, I began bargaining with myself that maybe finishing before February wasn’t that big of a deal. I was too exhausted and burnt out to finish, then grace kicked in.
As of Sunday, I have committed to going to the gym…again…for the third time. I walked in with my home girls, and we immediately began scoping out the unoccupied machines and developing a plan to get the best workout. First, we I climbed on some machine that killed my legs – I don’t even know how I’ve been walking all week. Next up was the stair climber thingy in which I walked up 13 flights of stairs in five minutes, then the treadmill, and lastly we did reps on a few weightlifting machines. Okay, let me just say I still have the activities of my limbs only by the grace of God. Ugh! Anyway, we set a goal of ten minutes on each machine besides the stair climber, and we decided to do four rounds of 15-20 reps when weightlifting. In every instance, I found myself pushed to the limit just as I was about three minutes or three reps away from my goal. I would slow down, release a sound of agony, and whine about wanting to quit…every single time. It seemed like my girls (who go to the gym regularly) were breezing through their reps while I was barely making it. I mean I was hanging on a wing and a prayer. I was at the end of my rope. Bruh, my eyes had seen the glory of the coming of the Lord. (Okay, enough, Chris. You’re being dramatic.) Seeing them barely breaking a sweat while I was desperately in need of an IV drip of fluids and electrolytes only made me more frustrated with the pain I was feeling and the remainder of the task ahead of me. Then out of seemingly nowhere, I remembered that I was too close to the goal to stop, so I pushed to the end. As I saw it, finishing tired was better than stopping full of potential.
Ladies and gentlemen, the grace to finish is merely what some would call, “A Second Wind.”
According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a second wind is defined as renewed energy or endurance.
In an example, it states, “ He suddenly got his second wind and was able to complete the project on time. “
THE MORAL OF THE STORY
I have been singing since I was a very little girl, I joined the choral program in the eighth grade and continued through high school, and I now lead the Worship and Fine Arts department at my church. One of the techniques that I have taught my singers is how to successfully hold a note for an extended amount of time. I’ve shown them how to properly breathe and explained what will and won’t cause air to escape too soon. One of the most important things that I have taught them is that just when they think they are about to run out of air, it is as if there is metaphorical separate chamber within their diaphragm that will give them one last push to hold the note until the phrase is complete. Another example is my brother’s Mercedes-Benz. He once told me that these cars are built with a reserve tank. Once the fuel reserve indicator light comes on, the car begins burning the remaining 2.1 gallons of gas in said tank. It isn’t an exact science as to how far this will get you, but I reckon that it just may be enought to get you to either your destination or a place where you can refuel. In essence, it won’t leave you stranded where you are. In both cases, just when you are about to run out, you discover that there is a little more left. Furthermore, you don’t tap into your reserve until you need it.
*Starts singing, “Just when I need him… He steps in just when I need him most.”*
About a week out from graduation, I needed my extra chamber of air, my reserve tank, my second wind…my grace to finish. God supernaturally held me up until he endowed me with the strength to stand up on my own again and move forward.
My dear friend, I am not sure where you may be on your journey. Maybe you have just begun, and you are still running with the zeal of newness. Maybe you are stuck somewhere in the middle and debating if you are too far in to go back or still close enough to the starting line to count the rest as a loss. Maybe the finish line is in plain sight. Wherever you are on your journey, know that God has ordained both your steps and your stop. (I wanted to sound deep, LOL). He already knows what your finish looks like, the detours you will take instead of just following his path, and how to reroute you to get you to the completion of that thing. For those of you who feel like you are so close but seemingly so far away, keep going. For you who may be running out of time, resources, and even strength, keep pressing. Basically I’m trying to encourage you to keep pushing forward through the fatigue, past the pain, and despite the difficulties. God is not going to let you die before you finish this thing! All of this will be worth it the minute cross this threshold. If you have to cry, crawl, or even be carried to the finish, FINISH! And just when you think you won’t make it to the finish line, God will give you grace to 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]
Hey, and go read my blog Finish. for kicks and giggles.
I hope this helps.