Catching a Vision, Moving Forward, and Relishing Completion

Last weekend, I held a copy of our new church history book in my hands, a project more than five years in the making. As I turned the pages, I recognized passages I had written as well as the writing of many others. I saw pictures of friends and family members no longer with us, and remembered events from my childhood and beyond.

Tears choked me as I viewed pictures of the church fire that destroyed our sanctuary when I was five years old. Other memories emerged: the chill of the predawn darkness the morning I posed with our pastor beside the steeple before it was raised to the roof of the new building; walking the aisle on dedication Sunday to make my profession of faith; singing in the choir; our wedding and our children’s weddings; the dedication of our children and grandchildren; countless worship services. In looking at the history book, I pondered the progression of time, changes, programs, events, people—life.

While history causes us to look back, it also provides an inventory of moving forward.

Following are some elements inherent in maintaining forward motion:

Persistence

Any type of project, program, or learning experience takes persistence because obstacles emerge and setbacks occur. Determination is key to navigating around obstacles and regaining momentum after roadblocks slow or halt. Continuing to move forward requires the ability see the finish line and decide reaching it is worth pushing ahead.

Vision

One of the most important parts of moving forward is catching a vision of potential and being able to see what is currently not in existence. Sometimes vision is clouded by past experiences or too many opinions from external voices. Other times, we have to strain to see beyond a one-dimensional picture. Take time to look at your project from different perspectives, even ones that seem iffy. Then, refine and combine until the full vision takes shape.

Planning

With any endeavor, planning is crucial to success. Without an outline for action, you may find you reach a point where there is no path forward, you’ve painted yourself into a corner, so to speak. But planning can have drawbacks. Many times, planning is the phase that paralyses into inaction. Don’t allow making plans to sidetrack to the point that you never take the next step.

Implementation

When I was working on the history book, my to-do pile got higher and higher before I finally tackled it. I had interview notes, and outlines, and pictures, yet I had to push myself to get started. What caused me to procrastinate? I knew it was going to be an involved, challenging, long project, and like many of us, I dreaded the steady chipping away, and slow progress of a massive task. But at some point, you simply have to dig in, begin the work, and keep going. All the vision and planning in the world are ineffective without implementation.

Completion

With any large task, you often don’t enjoy the process, but relish the completion. However, between the start and finish is a lot of hard work and the effort is sometimes exhausting. It’s human nature to attempt things in our own strength, but much in life requires tapping into power greater than our own.

The church history book would never have reached publication without the prayers of many and the supernatural strengthen and guidance of the Spirit within. Holding the book and leafing through it was an emotional experience, not just because it reminds me of family and faith, major pillars in my life, but because it is a chronicle of God’s faithfulness.

What have you begun, but not seen through to completion? What are you attempting in your own strength? Ask God to help you. Review your plan, and at the same time, ask God if your plan meshes with His. Reignite determination. Implement, and then relish completion, giving thanks as you do.

“And let us not get tired of doing what is right, for after a while we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t get discouraged and give up.” Galatians 6:9 TLB

©CandyArrington

 

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