Monday, September 12, 2011

Why You Should Hang Up Your Robe
by Glynnis Whitwer

(Editor's Note: This article really hit home with me; I have a bad habit of not quite finishing what I started. Reading this article helped me to realize the importance of finishing what I start, even with such seemingly minor tasks as hanging up my robe. Thanks, Glynnis, for your wise words!)

“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me…” Acts 20:24 (NIV)

My first instinct was to leave the clean, folded clothes on top of the dresser. Granted, my arms were filled with freshly laundered items, so it would have been difficult to open the drawer while balancing the stack. I had an excuse for leaving them on top. Didn’t I? Instead, I pushed past my instinct, took 30 more seconds, and placed the clothes neatly in the drawer.

This tendency to not complete a task happens with surprising regularity. I toss my bathrobe on the bed, drape jeans on the tub, and set the television remote on the nearest counter top. However, sometimes, when I’m a bit more self-aware, I take the few extra steps needed to actually finish the task.

Years ago, I realized my practice of stopping short of finishing what I started led to a cluttered home and office. Back then, I had a multitude of unfinished tasks that I just lived with. It wasn’t all simple things like putting away clothes, but included larger tasks like leaving a wall half painted.

Starting a project is fun, and usually involves a burst of energy. Then, that energy wanes as I approach the finish line. Instead of pushing to complete the task, assignment or project with excellence, I lean towards settling for good enough. Unfortunately, when I settle for “good enough” consistently, I learn to live with mediocrity. And accepting mediocrity is far from where God wants me to be. You see, finishing what we start is more than a good organizational or home management skill. It’s also a spiritual discipline.

As I identified the tendency to settle, I realized it affected me in a variety of ways throughout my life. In the past I accepted a distant relationship with God rather than one of intimacy. I’ve limited my understanding of Scripture to a surface level. My relationships with others have gone no deeper than, “Hi, how are you doing?” Instead of pushing to explore the fullness of what God offers in all areas, it is easier to stop short. Perhaps it’s safer. Simpler. And with less personal discomfort or inconvenience.

Interestingly, it’s actually been somewhat easy to address this issue. I admit the tendency within myself to settle, and I get firm with myself about it. Now, when I would prefer to leave the dryer full of clothes, or emails half typed, I say to myself, “Finish what you start.” I make a conscientious decision to finish the task at hand before I move on to something new. Obviously, there are some projects that require more effort, but this works on many of my issues.

I’m not sure of all the reasons for stopping short of finishing with excellence, but I do know the results. I end up with unfulfilled commitments, open loops and shallow relationships. That’s a far cry from the life Jesus came to bring, which is full and abundant. Not a partial life, but one lived with pushing to the limits and exploring the outer reaches.

Maybe that seems a deep principle to pull from putting clothes in a drawer or a dirty bowl in the dishwasher. However, the discipline of finishing well is one that is woven through my life…or it’s not.

So I guess I’ll take the extra step and actually hang up my robe. It’s one more stitch in this tapestry of finishing well that God is trying to create in my life.

Dear Lord, thank You for demonstrating finishing well through the life of Jesus. I know Jesus could have stopped short of paying the price for my salvation. But He didn’t. For that I will be eternally grateful. Please help me push through mediocrity in my life and explore the fullness You long to bring. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Application Steps:

Identify one home or office task that would take you less than 30 minutes to finish. Commit to finishing this in the next five days.


What are some reasons I avoid finishing certain tasks?

Could procrastination reflect a deeper spiritual issue for me?

Power Verses:

John 19:30, “When he had received the drink, Jesus said, ‘It is finished.’ With that he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” (NIV)

Genesis 2:2, “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day He rested from all His work.” (NIV)
Glynnis Whitwer is on staff with Proverbs 31 Ministries as the Senior Editor of the P31 Woman magazine. She is one of the writers of Encouragement for Today, the Proverbs 31 e-mail devotions, with over 500,000 daily readers. Her newest book, I Used to be So Organized, has just been released. Glynnis, her husband Tod, and their five children live in Glendale, Arizona. Visit or http://www.herorganizedlife./com to learn more.


© 2011 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.
September Editor's Letter

Getting Back into a Routine

Since Cody and Morgan are both back to school, I guess that means summer is over! While I love the more un-scheduled days of summer, it is nice to get back into a routine. Cody started his sophomore year at Kansas State this week and seems to be enjoying his classes. Morgan started her college class (Spanish) on Monday, and her high-school senior year on Tuesday. It was bittersweet to take the last “first-day-of-school” picture, but she’s excited about her senior year and college next year, and we are glad about that (see Morgan's first, first-day-of-school and last, first-day-of-school photos, below).

We are also looking forward to the State Fair and AKSARBEN in September, and Tim is also holding a pasture sale mid-September. The month will fly by!

I accomplished a business goal this summer in creating a blog and Face Book page for my book Home is Where the Mom Is; A Christian Mom’s Guide to Caring for Herself, Her Family, and Her Home. You’ll find excerpts from the book and posts by moms of kids of all ages on the blog at You can also “like” the Nebraska Family Times Face Book page and, between regular issues of the paper, receive links to articles that will “inspire, encourage, and motivate you in your Christian walk.”

September brings the 10th anniversary of September 11th, 2001. Like everyone, I clearly remember what I was doing that day. I had walked Cody and Morgan to school and came home to the news that the planes had crashed into the Twin Towers. I had been busy raising Cody and Morgan so hadn’t paid much attention to international news, and the concept of “terrorism” was pretty new to me. I remember thinking that I was glad we lived in the middle of the United States, where nothing was likely to happen…and then I heard on the radio that a “large distinctive airplane” (which of course turned out to be Air Force One, carrying President Bush) had just landed at Sac Air Force Base.

As I watched the events of the day unfold, I was sad to think that Cody and Morgan (who .were in 4th and 2nd grade) and their classmates would not remember a world in which “terrorism” was not an everyday term. The world changes were very evident in November of 2001 when our family flew to northern Wisconsin to celebrate Thanksgiving. We were greeted at the airport by BIG dogs, men with guns…and several security guards converging on us when the x-ray of Morgan’s backpack revealed a fork that I’d forgotten to remove with the rest of her lunch items.

In the days and weeks after 9/11 Tim and I had the task of explaining what had happened, and what could happen, to Cody and Morgan. Although it was very unlikely that any of us would ever be affected directly by terrorism, we have no guarantees on the number of our days. We were thankful that we could reassure our kids (and ourselves!) that if the worst happened—from terrorism, an accident, an illness, or any other cause—we could be absolutely certain that we would go to heaven and see each other again someday.

Our country is blessed to have men and women willing to serve in the military. Please remember them and their families in your prayers. And also remember those who lost loved ones and were directly involved in and impacted by September 11th, 2001.

Although there are wars and rumors of war and strife both within our country and throughout the world, we can be assured that God will not change. He is in charge, He knows what is happening, and He has promised us eternal life. And although I don’t think we’ll ever see world peace, we can have the peace that passeth all understanding (Phil. 4:7).

Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39

God’s blessings and peace to you!

Morgan's first, first-day-of-school. She's pictured with her first dog, Hershey.

Morgan's last, first-dayof-school. Morgan is pictured with her dog, Jenny.
She's also sitting on the SAME swing that's in the first picture!