The Christmas rush is now behind us. The presents have been opened. The meal has been reduced to leftovers. The parties have come and gone. All that is left is the clean up!
Somehow, taking down the Christmas tree is not as much fun as putting it up. Washing the dishes from the big meal is not as celebratory as the meal itself. Paying the credit card bill is not as enjoyable as the shopping that led to that bill.
In the area in which I live, it is not uncommon for people to not quite get around to finishing up these after-Christmas events. I can often see Christmas trees still lit inside homes for weeks after Christmas has passed. I have seen Christmas wreaths on front doors until late April. We tend to start Christmas with a big burst of energy, but we seldom finish with the same enthusiasm.
While I suppose we might excuse ourselves for our lack of post-Christmas zeal, I think that if we are not careful, the habit of not finishing what we start can carry over into other areas of life. Whether it is a home repair project, a book we are reading, a homework assignment, or some relationship issue we are working through, we need to learn to finish what we start. Though some things we start do not turn out the way we had originally envisioned, we should remain focused and finish them to the best of our ability.
When we do not finish something with the same commitment that we started it, it becomes easier to quit the next time too. Quitting becomes a habit. If we master the art of quitting when things are harder than we thought or do not turn out the way we imagined, we will find ourselves quitting a lot. Life is filled with unexpected events and seldom do our plans work out exactly as we thought they would. Quitting every time we hit a road block in our plans will not lead to a healthy lifestyle.
People who become skilled in the art of quitting seldom accomplish anything of significant value in life. They may be very creative in thinking up things to do, but they seldom get them done. They may begin numerous projects with enthusiasm, but their lives are filled with scattered elements of half complete projects. Their minds race with ideas they never act on. They are often paralyzed emotionally and/or relationally as they bubble over with energy for one new project after another while never quite getting the last one finished. They can be exhausting to be around.
As difficult as it can be, we need to finish as well as we start. We need to do the hard work of bringing various activities in our lives to their logical conclusions. If we fail to do this, we will struggle to find wholeness in our lives. We will lack a sense of accomplishment. As we deal with all the post-Christmas “stuff,” let it become a new pattern in our lives for finishing as well as we started.