So, except for 1 day, I completed another 31 Days challenge, and I can tell you, it felt so good.
You see, I’m not known for my stick-to-it-iveness or consistency when it comes to finishing things I start. Not so much the major things (like parenting, for instance – not the kind of job you can just give up on when you get tired of it. As much as there are days when I wish you could….). Going to uni and getting my nursing degree was really the first thing in my life I started and finished, and it’s taken until being well entrenched in my 30’s for me to really get it.
I don’t finish things I start, and give up way too easily because essentially, I behave like a spoiled brat.
I start something, whether it’s something I’ve done before, or something new – be it a new creative endeavour, study, fitness, clean eating, DIY – and inevitably there’s a point of ‘I’m bored/ tired/ sick of this/hungry’ or ‘it’s really difficult/ boring/ challenging/ confronting’, and so more often than not, I just walk away (again, not the big things – I go to work and I parent my kids and work on my relationships, which are all the definitions of challenging and difficult at times!).
And always feel either guilty, or full of regret. Or both.
I always end up feeling like a failure.
It’s actually become my comfort zone, because it’s what’s familiar. Start, stop. Start, stop.
It can take me months, even years to finish a creative project, because I get bored, or distracted by something shiny and new.
I start a new fitness routine, and then it gets too hard, and too uncomfortable, and sitting on the couch with a book is always a better option.
I change my diet to what I know is so much better, but then just cannot resist that one sweet thing or piece of artisan bread, and it’s all over.
I’ve started numerous study courses, and ultimately end up deferring because there’s always something more important to deal with (but really, I don’t want to put in the hard work).
I get started on a house project, and it takes months and months and months because, well – I could list a thousand reasons, but ultimately, I get bored and find something better to do. Like sit on the couch with a book.
On and on it goes. Nearly ever time.
Cue guilt and inadequacy.
But here’s the thing.
If I start with the expectation of not finishing – as I do nearly every single time (because it’s what’s nearly always happened) – I’m giving myself permission to fail. And because it’s been my pattern for so long, the people who know me best pretty much expect this to happen, so there are no surprises. There are low to no expectations, therefore I’m not likely to disappoint anyone when I don’t live up to them.
I’m awesome at self-sabotage. And making excuses. And justifying anything.
Only it’s not working anymore, because inside my head? I can’t get away from me, and every time, I know the truth – this is not who I was made to be.
I’ve come to believe the lies of the enemy – self-indulgence, fear, comparison, unworthiness, there’s-something-better, distraction. And they’ve defined whom I’ve come to be.
Only that’s not who I am. It’s not who I AM has created me to be. I am created to be His masterpiece, so I can do all the good things he planned for me so long ago.
Pretty simple, really. And by allowing myself to be distracted by the world, to believe the lies of the enemy, I’m not living in the fullness who God has made me to be. No wonder I’m so often left feeling empty and wanting.
Here’s the beautiful thing. Because I have been made by the hands of God, because I am a new creation in Jesus, I can rest in the truth that I if I listen to Him, I can do anything in His strength, anything that will show His goodness to the world. Whether that’s writing a blog, painting my house, planting a garden, talking with a friend, writing a report for work – it’s all God, all the time. I don’t need to rely on my own self to do any of this – history shows that doesn’t often end particularly well when I do!
I don’t find it easy to trust God with what I think is my responsibility. Which is pretty much everything in my life. I think if I don’t deal with it, if I don’t take control, it won’t get done, and I’ll have failed. Again. And I’m tired of that. So very, very tired.
This is why finishing the 31 Day writing challenge was such a big deal to me. I started it, I kept going – even when I wanted to give up – and I finished.
Because God was all over it.
It wasn’t perfect. It wasn’t how I wanted it to be. Sometimes I wrote with a half-hearted effort. But it was done.
And now? I didn’t create this blog to write for 31 days and be done with it. So on it goes. Where, exactly, I really don’t know.
But it’s going to be fun finding out.
What are your barriers, bumps in the road, things that prevent you from achieving what you set out to do? How do you deal with them?