I have a confession. I am high skilled at the art of failing to follow through. I can spitball ideas and plans with the best of them. I can even begin in the project, but when it comes to finishing, well…
I’m not saying I never finish anything. I’ve got at least as many books on my shelf that I’ve read as I am wanting to read. But most of my life has been marked with starting and never quite finishing. No, really. Just look at this cross stitch that I started 20 years ago.
All this starting, but not completing, left me believing a lie about myself, “I’m just a failure at finishing.” But this is why it is so, so important to surround yourself with people who will speak truth into your life. My counselor gently reminded that to break that cycle all I needed to do was go back to the thing that I “failed at” and do it. Holy revelation Batman!
So I pulled myself up and sat back down at things that I felt I had failed at. Like consistently painting, and learning to play the piano. But you know what else I did, the thing I think is more radical…I gave myself permission to not finish some of those things, without having guilt hang over my head.
This right here has been a huge cause of guilt and feelings of failure in my life. Sometime last year I tried my hand at embroidery. I’m at least as good as your average bear, so I decided to make a gift for my eldest daughter. It was just going to he a monogram S surrounded by flowers. But partway into it I had the realization that she isn’t super girly and flowers wouldn’t really fit. So I decided it should be a dragon.
She loved dragons. But I bit off more than I could chew. I got discouraged. I set it aside to come back to later. Only later turned into a year and a half and it is incomplete. And now she’s not into dragons.
I took to long. Obviously, I’m a failure. I don’t want to put more effort into something she won’t like. Guilt and shame piled high like pudding. (Is that a phrase? I think I’m going to keep using it)
But instead of believing the lie, I confronted it. I gave myself permission to ask if it was ok if I didn’t finish it. And you know what, I was met with grace…from a 12 year old. Which got me thinking that if she can extend me grace, maybe I can extend myself some grace. Because Jesus gives me grace daily. So from here on out, it’s permission granted. To try again. Or to lay it down.