OK so first of all, I love Jesus, mmkay? Secondly, I have a pretty solid track record of not following through on long term, daily commitments. These two things do not, logistically, go well together. They just don’t. When you love Jesus, The Holy Spirit pulls you, tugs at your heart, knock’s quietly at the door to your soul, woo’s you to make changes in your life in response to what Christ did on the cross for you. One of those changes for me, is follow through on commitments.
In Ecclesiastes 7: 8, it says ” Better is the end of a thing than the beginning.” Although I know that there is a great sense of accomplishment when something comes to completion, I am more of a professional “starter” of things. I’d like to think that the reason the bible says the end is more important than the beginning, is because, well plainly, anyone and everyone can start something, but it takes a true champion to finish something well.
John Piper wrote; “A review of the day in the evening is more truthful than the caffeinated optimism of the morning’s good intentions.” Hah! This is totally me. You give me a good cup of coffee at 5am, and I’ll have you a plan to change the world as we know it and make everything go smoothly from here on out. I have great intentions, grand dreams and perfectly drawn out blueprints of the future of my life-changing plans. It goes from workout plans, to menu planning, to a well thought out map of discipline structure for my children, then hops over to a life-documentation journaling plan, then takes the train down to a plan to read my bible in one year and makes a final stop at not only how to clean my house, one room at a time over the course of one year, focusing on a deep clean once a quarter, but as a bonus pack to that cleaning plan, I will simultaneously implement learning to decorate said clean house so people will basically forget who Joanna Gaines even is. Oh yes, it’s real. Then I immediately start making lists of how to execute said life strategies, and I gather my lists and head out to the store for all the stuff that I need to implement my brilliance.
Great start. But somehow, about three days in, ok if I’m lucky it might hit 8 days MAX, but weekends really throw me a curve ball, so about 8 days in, I get distracted. I forget about my brilliant plans. Day. After. Day. Then on day 13 I’m like “Wait, I think I was doing something important… darn! What was it? OHHHHH THAAAAT’S RIIIIIIIGHT!!!!!! I forgot to work out, I haven’t read the bible in 3 days, we went out to dinner on Tuesday instead of following the meal plan, we had a soccer tournament so we ate out, whatever, all the things that equal how lame I am that I cant just finish stuff.
I’m sure some of you can relate? And it may be because you have been diagnosed with ADD, so finishing things is, and always has been very difficult. I’m the other half. The half of the strong starters that probably should be diagnosed with ADD, but are just too old and stuck in our ways.
Either reason, we can go two ways about this little habit, or character trait we have. We can get into a cycle of thinking and saying things, that help perpetuate this little defect of character, so we stop attempting new things, and we give up on the possibilities of being a strong-ender, or we can allow Christ in, to shake things up and move things around.
Enter Advent. Ugh. Advent calendars. Ugh. Advent wreaths. Advents candles. Ugh. Ugh!!! When I say ugh, I really do mean yay, but first, its definitely ugh, for me. Are you serious with 25 days in a row? And to make things WORSE, we aren’t talking about a new work out plan, or menu planning. We are talking about committing to 25 days in a row of reflecting on everything that ever was and is and is to come about The Messiah, And on top of that, you have to tell your family that you are going to do this TOGETHER!!!!
FYI: The worst type of commitment is the one that your children can hold you accountable to. Because they pretty much live for reminding you that you have forgotten all the things. Little things, big things, things you may not have even said but they heard it somewhere else and now have adopted into your family as truth. Bless their sweet faces.
The thought of Advent triggers fear in me. Literally. Then that turns into anxiety and then self doubt and I can quickly end up in a heap of defeat even though I haven’t even participated in anything, I’ve literally just thought about participating. Know what I’m talking about?
Hey my fellow horrible commitment follow through-ers; this is where we turn this story around!
2 Corinthians 5:17 says “Therefore if ANYONE is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come”.
You guys, this verse has changed everything for me, and I hope when you read it, you let it penetrate every single aspect of the thoughts you have about who ARE. I’m serious. People will tell you your whole life; “That’s just the way you are.”, “You can’t help it.” and then you start believing, “That’s just the way I am.”, “I can’t help it.”, “Somethings never change.”, “I’ve always been this way.”.
You guys, don’t give into the lie that quenches the Spirit’s God breathed power and authority to change every aspect in your life, towards being that new person whom you are, who honors and glorifies God in everything you do. Something so simple as committing to a family devotion during the Advent Season, is not simple at all. Don’t you dare underestimate the power of gathering together in any form, to celebrate and reflect on the life of Christ, even if you are bad at it, and can’t post pictures of your beautiful, God fearing family enjoying their super holy advent devotional, okay???
You know what my Advent is going to look like? 3 days of forgetting to read, 7 days of my kids crying because I missed yesterday, 6 days of my kids crying because its taking too long to read about Jesus, 8 days of my kids arguing about who gets to read the next passage and 1 day of joy. That last day. That last day will be glorious.
If I were to throw Advent onto the pile of things that I just am not capable of doing, and leave it there, what would that look like to my kids? What would that look like to Christ? Like really? Are we just throwing in the towel? Oh heck no!!!
This year, if you are down on yourself because your life is a mess and it’s December 4th and you are still cleaning up shredded, construction paper turkeys off your floor under the table, that you have no clue how it got there; go ahead and throw Advent on the pile that you are just not capable of doing. Then slowly back up, and let Christ start and finish this one.
2 Corinthians 12:9-11 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships,in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
This passage shouldn’t just make you think of being in prisoned for your faith or being persecuted for your faith. This passage applies to every area in our lives, even the day-to-day, small ones.
I dare you to bring this one to God. Pray that God would help you in this, seemingly insignificant in the scheme of things, tradition, that will bless the socks off you and your family. It won’t get you kicked out of heaven if you don’t reflect on Christ every day for 25 days. But it will, if you allow Christ into this department of your life, bring great opportunity for growth in your dependency on Him for even the small things. Even if you skip a few days, if even everyone is crying by the end of your devotional time, life is messy much like a lived in home. God wants to go through every room and help you clean it out. Clean it WITH you. He’s not waiting outside for you to clean it yourself, before he comes in.
Life is messy. And he doesn’t mind. He looks forward to it. He delights in helping you with it. Even something as small as not being equipped to follow through with things.
I’m doing advent y’all. And I just might post some pictures about it. But maybe not, cuz I typically don’t follow through with things. <<wink, wink>>
We were created by, and serve a God who is a strong finisher. Allow him to create that in you. Yield to the whisper of The Holy Spirit, He will prompt you, He will remind you, He will laugh with you, He will not shame you for forgetting, He will not hold it against you.
Genesis 2:2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing.
Your God is a strong finisher. Trust Him, in you.
Enjoy this Advent season.