Finish Well

I recently started running. If you follow me on Instagram, you have probably seen stories of me and how much I have run, as well as a tired dying picture of myself. Why am I doing this to myself? Well, at the start of the year, my wife and I decided one of our goals was to get more in shape. You see, some of my favorite things include candy (see last week’s post), movies, and fast food. None of those are very active and I am content with not being active, but I also work with kids. If you’re confused, let me explain. In the after-school program In work at, the kids love to play games. We play all kinds of games like, monster attack, west African alligator, and apocalypse. If you have no idea what those are, I didn’t either, but pretty much they are all fancy names of the same game; tag. Me, being the 6’2” giant, somehow always becomes the tagger. It’s a blast, but I get tired really easily. So, as part of my wife and I’s goal, I decided I would start running in the mornings.

It’s been great. I just love the feeling of my stomach tightening up, my legs being sore, and my eyeballs freezing in the cold. Clearly, I am not like those of you who get the “runner’s high” and can just run for miles all while smiling and singing to the birds like a Disney Princess. I huff and puff a lot, it probably doesn’t help that I’ve been fighting a cold, so the snot drainage doesn’t help either (yup, it’s gross, welcome to real life!). Despite all of this, I am proud of myself for starting this habit, but I really want to finish well. Like any habit or resolution, if your goal isn’t attainable, it’ll be hard to finish. For me, since I am finding out that I am a bigger Disney nerd than I thought, I discovered that the Disney parks host several races you can enter. Danielle and I’s friend recently did the full marathon, which holy moly I would die, and got this really sweet looking medal. I then said, I should work towards doing that, I mean the medal is super cool! Boom, now I have a goal, all that’s left is finishing well. So, how do I do that?

Begin with the end in mind.

This isn’t specifically designed to be about your fitness goals. I’m using my fitness goal as an example of life in general. Do you want to have a better quiet time? Would you like to have deeper friendships? Do you want to make a career change? You need to begin with the end in mind, my wife calls this your “why.” Why do you want to achieve this goal? The goals should make sense and be intentional. The goal of a quiet time is to have a deeper connection to God and his word. The goal behind deeper friendships is to have authentic community that you can laugh with and be challenged to grow.  The goal behind your career change is to do what you have been gifted at and enjoy the talents God gave to you. You have to have a big picture. I want to be healthy and not let my body feel bad. Look at me, I’m starting to sound like a fitness influencer selling you on their workout, but I promise, all of you could beat me at a race (but not a three-legged race, Danielle and I will dominate). God has a purpose for our lives, that is a Christ followers’ ultimate goal, and that needs to be the thing you are focused on above all else, so don’t let worldly goals (even if they are inherently good) distract you from the purpose God has laid out for you.

Take it one step at a time.

Think Bill Murray walking around saying baby steps in What About Bob? You need to take life one step at a time, continually moving forward. I want to be able to compete in a race, that means I have to get up every morning and actually run. You want a stronger relationship with God, open your bible every day and read it. You want to have community, text a friend and get coffee. You want to change your job, update that resume and call your contacts with connections. Finish well, don’t end your story like Gideon. Oh, what’s this? You thought this was just Joshua getting you pumped up? No, well sort of, but I’m also getting this from Gideon’s story. I have written about Gideon the past few weeks, and today I’m bringing up the end of his story. This takes place in Judges 8, Gideon has listened to God and defeated the Midianites, but he doesn’t live happily ever after, he has a ton of children and many wives. The scripture says 70, that’s a lot of kids. He then dies and in verse 33 it says, “No sooner had Gideon died than the Israelites again prostituted themselves to the Baals.” Yikes, Gideon is not a bad person, so I don’t want you to think this, he just didn’t finish as well as he could. He saw the end goal, the people of Israel were free from their oppressors, but he forgot that when you are a leader, you have to lead on a daily basis. Scripture doesn’t say he spent quality time with his kids every day so they could grow up with a strong foundation and it doesn’t say he led the Israelites to bring praise to God for their victory. So, as soon as Gideon died, he didn’t leave his people with an understanding of a daily walk. Don’t fall into this trap by the enemy. Your goals are good, you just need to approach them one step at a time.

finish well

I’m not sure about you, but I want to make sure I finish well. All the effort and time you put into something should pay off, don’t get caught up with looking too far ahead and forget the steps you need to take in front of you. Do whatever it takes to help you achieve your goals on a daily basis. For me, I was given a Field Notes Planner for Christmas, and I pan out my weeks each day. I schedule my work, my blogs, and all the extras to keep track of my days. What are your goals? What’s your “why” behind the goal? What steps are you planning to take on a daily basis? I’d love to hear what they are as well as your plans, so be sure to leave a comment below!

Remember that starting is easy, and in order to finish well, you need to begin with the end in mind and take it one step at a time.

-Joshua Thomas

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One thought on “Finish Well

  1. to finish well…I am not sure where the years have gone – along with all the dreams and goals, but I find myself at age 68 with many unfinished goals (along with 3 unfinished books) and thinking I may never finish – thanks for the encouragement – part of one of the books is in my blog – “Once upon a Time” I am a story teller – my goal is tied up with a love for God and obedience that comes out of that love – I would love to tell you how I am planning to reach my goal – but I have learned that I must take one day at a time – perhaps tomorrow I will continue on towards the finish line as today has already been spoken for.

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