Your Greatest End May Not Be Finishing

Erik Cooper —  April 18, 2011 — 2 Comments

Ever walked three miles with five little kids (when you weren’t out of gas or mildly hallucinating)?

B&O Railroad has been overhauling its abandoned Indiana Rail Line, transforming the old tracks into a beautifully paved community trail. The latest addition cuts just behind our neighborhood, so last night we set out on a little family adventure (with a few extra kids in tow).

The trail ends about a mile and half from our backyard, which might as well have been Albuquerque for our three-year-old tagalong. But my family doesn’t back down from a challenge (we’re the Mandelbaums of greater Indianapolis). We were finishing that trail, even if they had to chopper us back to civilization (we also have a flare for the overdramatic).

I’ve always been driven by completing tasks (unless they involve power tools). My wife is too, so our kids had no chance. It’s in the DNA. And in so many ways it’s such a gift. We like to see things through, to make them happen, to check off the list until the goal is reached and the job is done. God’s wired us that way, and He said that it is good.

But last night, I realized the old adage is true (that’s probably why it became an old adage). Our obsession with finishing may have diluted the adventure. Enjoy the journey.

Guess what was at the end of the trail we were so determined to reach?

An obscene graffiti-filled tunnel. It looked like some sadistic scene from the Lost Boys. I glanced around for remnants of animal sacrifices and used drug paraphernalia. It would have made quite the family photo op.

But back on the path….

On the path were stories of old tree forts and creeks I played in as a child.

On the path were rock skipping competitions.

On the path were opportunities for intimate conversation.

On the path were deepening relationships.

On the path were a countless number of the beautiful, little moments that make life rich.

We had a few. But I could have made more, if I would’ve just stopped pressing to get finished.

Sometimes being a finisher is exactly what is needed. Embrace it. But sometimes it’s just a ruse, allowing us to mask our fear of the vulnerability required to create the human connections we so desperately long for.

Sometimes the greatest end may be reached when we stop pressing for our finish line.

What do you think? Is this ever true for you?

2 responses to Your Greatest End May Not Be Finishing

  1. I really needed this today! God is calling me to move to another state ~ and I keep thinking, “But I am not FINISHED with my projects in Indianapolis….” I am almost obsessed with finishing, even though I know in my heart that I need to be obsessed with immediately doing whatever God tells me to do, right when he says it! This struggle has really surprised me, because I did not know I had significant treasure in my own projects! And I think it is admirable to an extent, to stick with things ~ because I am a “doer”, but I see now how it has sort of become an idol to me. Far too much of my worth is in what I do. God is working on me to sort it out! Thanks for the words! I think all your blogs just need to be printed in the sky with those airplanes! They really minister to me! xxoo

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