Finishing the Job

The Lovely Lady isn’t talking to me.  

No, it’s not for the reason you might suspect.  She’s not upset—not with me anyway.

I am frustrated.  I have been for weeks.  Tasks which have been set before me have been tackled with purpose and intent.  As uncomfortable as I am with those tasks, I want to complete them.

Wanting to is not the same as doing.

Trying is not the same as succeeding.

For a variety of reasons, I have been forced to move from several of the tasks to other ones before the first jobs were completed.  It doesn’t set well in my spirit.

Today, I spent a few hours measuring and visualizing a solution while considering a task I never wanted to begin in the first place.  

What I really mean is I stood in one place and, staring at the impossible mess, racked my brain to come up with a way out of the predicament I find myself in.  Dinnertime interrupted the aggravation—which only made me more aggravated.

I came home, having accomplished not a single task.  Not one.

I said she’s not talking to me.  She just knows I need a little space.  I’m not much for consoling platitudes.  They only frustrate me more.  She knows that.

She knows me.

I like that she knows me. 

Later this evening, I needed to retrieve something I had left at the site of my earlier frustration, so I told her I would be right back, explaining what I was doing.  

It would take a little longer than that.

As I walked in the door, the frustration of the day landed on me again like an unbearable weight on my chest.  It was hard for me to breathe for a moment.  But, as I walked back where the item I needed was stored, I noticed another task I had left undone days ago.

A thought hit me.  Why not just finish that little project?  I had been putting it off for days, feeling guilty every time I walked past, but never stopping to complete the work.

Tonight, I picked up the necessary tools and I finished one task.  Just one.

I walked out of there with my head held high.  When I got home, the Lovely Lady talked to me.

She talked to me.

I like that she knows me.

I read her part of a poem, one I remember from my childhood days.  You’ve likely heard it before.  A single verse from Longfellow’s The Village Blacksmith:

   Onward through life he goes;
Each morning sees some task begun,
   Each evening sees it close;
Something attempted, something done,
   Has earned a night’s repose.

My voice cracked as I read the words.  It does that.  More and more, these days.

It was only a small thing I completed.  

No.  It was a very small thing.  

It doesn’t matter.  I needed to feel the success of completion—of working at something that mattered, and finishing it.

I have often felt that way about life itself—about living my faith.  I need to do something that matters.  More than that, I need to complete the job.

Perhaps I won’t finish it today, as Mr. Longfellow’s blacksmith did.  But still, the goal is not to start a plethora of tasks.  The goal is to finish what’s been begun, be it one enterprise or a dozen.

I want to be able to say with the Apostle who wrote so many letters, that I have fought a good fight and have completed the race.  (2 Timothy 4:7)

It will only be true through perseverance.  It will only be true if the race is run in His strength and not my own.  

I lose interest when the going gets hard.  Zeal turns to disappointment; the heat of good intentions cools until there is barely a spark of dedication.

But, He knows me.

My frustrations, my sadness, my disappointments, He knows all of them.  And, in all of them, He never wavers in His faithfulness.  

I waver.  I gripe.  I lash out.

There is no limit to His persistent love. Click To Tweet

But, there is no limit to His persistent love.  His mercies have no end.  Really.  In His faithfulness, His mercies are renewed every morning.  (Lamentations 3:22, 23)

Every morning.

Just when I need them to face the new day, with its frustrations and its challenges.  Mercies.

I like that He knows me.

I’ve got more tasks to complete.  

I think I’ll see what I can finish today.

I might even start something new.


My therapist told me the way to achieve true inner peace is to finish what I start.  So far today, I have finished two bags of M&Ms and a chocolate cake.  I feel better already.
(Dave Barry ~ American author/humorist)


Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.  Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.
(Colossians 3:23,24 ~ NLT ~ Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation.  All rights reserved.) 





© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2017. All Rights Reserved.

2 thoughts on “Finishing the Job

  1. I do like to finish what I start, too. But when it comes to doing the Lord’s work, are we ever really finished? As you say about His mercies, they are new every morning and so are the tasks He would have us tackle.
    Blessings, Paul!

  2. That’s why I like projects and crafts. So much of what we do is intangible (e.g. parenting). It feels good to finish something to which I can point and say, “At least that’s done.”

    I think of Paul finishing his race and looking at that “crown of righteousness.” Thanks for writing this.

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