The end of something is better than its beginning. Patience is better than pride. Ecclesiastes 7:8 GNT
Too competitive? Ha, no such thing! I am far from a quitter... or so I thought.
As much as I may hate to admit it, the latest personality test I took may have nailed every nail of mine on the head. My personality type was labeled, “The Champion,” and the test informed me that:
Champions are used to feeling things intensely. When they no longer have those feelings, they have a tendency to move on to something they will feel more passionately about. This makes Champions great starters but not the greatest finishers.
Not great finishers? Really? Yes, really. I suppose that’s why I usually find myself in the middle of a season, or a test, or a trial, and consistently asking God, “How long will this take? Will this ever end? Why am I progressing so slowly?!”
I suppose that it is my pride at the root of my impatience. I want that check mark in the box of what I believe is expected of me, I want that line through the item on my to-do list, I want that extra accomplishment added to my résumé. I start well, but my pride rushes me to finish. My pride tells me to give all my yes’s, to have a hand in all the cookie jars, to jump in with every opportunity that comes. Because when I do that, those around me see my service, they see my involvement, they see my accomplishments. But is that what I really want? Is that living a worshipful life?
If I were to sit down with you right now over a hot cup of coffee or tea, and I were to be completely honest with you, I would tell you that I’m scared. I’m scared of endings, and I’m not sure why. I have no fear of starting- I will try anything and everything, and I’m always ready for an unexpected adventure- but finishing… well, that feels so uncertain. Doesn’t make much sense, right? But nevertheless, I feel it.
God has used this verse from Ecclesiastes to convict me of impatience, to remind me that it is about the journey and the process, and to make me aware of the deep (often unnoticed) fears that keep me in cycles of impatience and ineffectiveness in life and ministry. By placing the value on God’s desires and submitting to the process of sanctification and renewal that He is doing in my life, I am choosing not to rush past Him. By yielding to His work, and choosing to join Him in what He is doing rather than asking Him to simply keep up with me as I live out my own plans, I am able to know His heart in an entirely new way.
This type of living, this Spirit-yielded life, allows the power of God to flow and bring each good work to completion. When I live yielded in this way, the responsibility of finishing is not on me. I am able to simply come alongside Christ, yoked to Him, as He carries the burden and responsibility, and I experience the glory of His works. Then others do not see my service, my involvement, or my accomplishments- instead they see the power of a real and living God.
My prayer for you and myself is that we would choose today to yield to the Spirit, to put our value on God’s will above our own, and to live in the fullness of His power as we surrender to the light yoke of our Good Master.
Lord, Convict me today of giving yes’s that are not best, and help me to be faithful in my finishing. Remind my heart that patience allows me to experience You in Your fullness. Holy Spirit, teach me to yield to Your guiding. Reveal to me the fears and habits that are holding me back from following and surrendering as I should. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.