Since the fall 2012 of when I “retired” from being a triathlon coach, I have start a lot and finished litte.
During the spring of 2012 through spring of 2015, proved to be both a restful time and a restless time. It was a season of rest – coaching had taken a lot out of me. My tank was low. I was not working and felt strongly that I shouldn’t work – very weird. I have worked hard all my life. It was a restless time because I was searching for how God wanted me to serve him. During spring of 2013, God placed a book on my heart. The working title is The Believer’s Travel Guide. During spring of 2014, we spent 6 weeks in California. These 6 weeks for me were a time of reflecting, writing and prayer. During spring of 2015, I made the commitment to begin the rigorous process of becoming an internationally certified Pilates teacher. And now, on the verge of spring 2016 I am poised to launch a new business (more details to come, stay tuned.) In between all of that, I explored and traveled down the path of being a missionary, going to seminary and becoming a pastor. Oh and simultaneously we sold everything we owned and moved into a 42′ motorhome called Tsunami for 18 months!
Let me tell you, all that exploration was exhausting. Let me also tell you how much each of those journey’s changed me, grew me and gave me greater clarity on who I am and who God has called me to be. I am not a missionary, God hasn’t planned for me to go to seminary and I am definitely not a pastor. And living in a 42′ motorhome – well that will change you mightily in and of itself (that’s another blog post)!
Ecclesiastes 7:8 says that finishing is better than starting and patience is better than pride.
I started several things I did not finish. I will tell you that I concur with Solomon, finishing is better. The starting was fun from an exploration standpoint and exhausting from a decision making standpoint. But, what did I learn?
- Do your research – Ask a lot of questions. Listen and observe intently. Check your heart for motives. Watch the behavior of others more than listening to words. But, most of all, when exploring and seeking your choices and path – be with God. Spend quiet time in the Word. Journal lots and reflect lots. Observe and process in prayer and communion with Him. He will guide you. He will confirm his direction for you and the answers to your questions by a settling in your spirit confirmed by a specific scripture or scriptures.
- Counsel – We all need people to guide us that we can trust. Choose these people carefully. Ask God to confirm who they are. Then, listen to them. Compare what they say against what you hear God telling you. See, God guides us and he creates “echoes” around that guidance so we can KNOW.
- Be careful with options that are a sharp detour from your general yet unique path. Sometimes, God will throw in some big curve balls. But, generally speaking, you will find a thread or 2 that you can trace back for years. This thread is a guide, something to hang on to as you find your way. I can only speak from my experience and, now that things are settled and my path is direct and clear I can see the thread of writing, coaching/leading and health/fitness. Find your thread – let that thread evolve and perhaps change colors. Look for consistency.
- Start where you are you won’t stay there. This is perhaps one of my favorite phrases and it is a powerful one. I am learning all over with Pilates – it’s been a challenge. It’s been exciting. And Pilates amazing me with it’s effectiveness and results. In my new business endeavor, I will be starting all over. Yes, I am an entrepreneur through and through but each business is different and requires humility to begin again and learn. This is the patience part of Ecclesiates 7:8. I believe that too many people get stuck where they are – not where God wants them, not operating at their best because they have pride. Give up that pride. Start at the beginning, right where you are…learn, practice and keep failing forward. You won’t stay there.
As a triathlete, it seems that most of my races were extreme “adventures”. I remember one very early on where I quit halfway through the swim. I couldn’t go for a second loop around that swim course. The first one had done me in (that’s another story for another day). So, I quit and went home. Ugh. That felt horrible. But, I learned and I didn’t quit triathlon. I just quit that race. Sometimes we need to start and not finish so that we can learn, grow and come back to finish.
Starting is fun. Finishing is better. It’s ok to start and not finish until you find what’s worth finishing! Go with God!