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I have a confession to make: I begin a lot of projects and posts series with great zeal that I never finish. If you’ve been reading for a while, you know about the scrapbooking project that I was supposed to start years ago. You’ve seen the first five of the 31 Day Naked Challenge. You’ve seen how I intend to continue a topic from a specific post and never come back to it. Thinking about all of these stops and starts (there’s another thing I didn’t finish!), I came to one explanation as to why none of this has been done: I don’t always begin with the end in mind.

It’s amazing what you can get excited about when you put your mind to it. It’s even more amazing (and tragic) how many of those things we will leave unfinished when things don’t go as we planned or we forget why we’re even attempting it. There are people you can get excited about and be “in love” with when you meet them who will begin to rub you the wrong way. If you aren’t bound to them in any way, you can just walk (or run) away from them and never look back. If you don’t have any intentions, if you’re just “seeing where it goes,” there’s even less reason to try and work through any difficulties.

People are able to accomplish more when they have goals. I was watching Transformers: Dark of Moon for the millionth time one night, and Sam’s interview conversation with the John Malkovich character stood out to me. Sam was so frustrated with the kinds of jobs that he was being offered he was ready to walk out. John Malkovich’s character tells him “you want the job after this one” but you have to do this job to get to that job.

I’m going to be honest with you: being a girlfriend sucks sometimes. Actually, a lot of the time. You don’t have the rights of a wife nor the priority in anyone’s life, yet you are there participating in said life. You don’t want to take on the role of a wife while being a girlfriend because you will feel doubly cheated “working a job” and not receiving any benefits that come with the position. You want to make sure that you are getting to know him and he’s getting to know you well enough to make a life-changing decision, but you can’t control how much time he takes to do that or what decision he makes. I would much rather be someone’s wife than someone’s girlfriend, but that’s the position after this position (hopefully).

There are many things that will be uncomfortable, that we feel are below us, positions where we won’t get the recognition or the accolades in life that we feel we deserve. The thing is, we don’t really want the recognition or the accolades that we may or may not receive along the way; we want the end results. A nice engagement ring and 300 guest wedding is nice, but I want a marriage. Having a hundred comments on a post will make my day, but I want to encourage or instruct someone. A like on facebook on a book excerpt gives me a little confidence boost, but I really want people to buy my book when it comes out.

Don’t let yourself be satisfied with good progress reports, or discouraged by a lack of enthusiasm in other people during the building stages. The only way to finish strong is to begin with the end in mind.

I have a few friends that are distance runners. They set a pace that they know they can sustain for the entire distance. They have ran enough to know when to fuel, what to eat the day before, what to wear for the weather, etc. They study the course and tailor their training to include more hills if necessary. They do all of this before a race to be able to finish how they would like to finish. Sometimes it works out well and other times they are disappointed, but barring injury, they always finish, which is more than I can say for me.

I’ve been embracing this idea for a while with my book, to begin with the end in mind. I’ve been praying about it and planning for it. Things have been falling into place for me with this book like never before with any other project. A large part of that is because I kept pushing through the lean times when normally I would have given up. As a result of having a clear vision of what I want to accomplish and who I want to reach, of sticking with it, God is blessing this little work of mine. Opportunities to teach parts of the book, programs that help inform the writing of it, changes at work that will allow me more time to work on it, and placing people with resources that can help push me closer to publication than I’ve ever been have continued to come my way.

I’m reminded of Peter walking on the water towards Jesus, starting out so bold and confident. It wasn’t until he got distracted that he began to sink. As soon as he cried out to Jesus, Jesus rescued him. Then he said “O ye of little faith, why did you doubt?” It’s easier to overcome distractions when you begin with the end in mind.Embrace this idea this week, and let me know how it goes in the comments section.