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Hold that finish!

“Behind every good _____, there’s a good ________,” they say. But I say, after every good stroke, there is a good follow through. After every good kick, after every good serve, after every good swing, after every good putt, after every good throw, there is a good follow through. It’s not an accident that a successful effort is followed by a smooth finish.

Of course, the reverse is also generally true: after a poor stroke, there is a poor follow through. Same with kick. Same with serve, swing, putt, and throw. An unsuccessful effort generally shows itself in its wayward finishing flourish, or lack of one.

How we finish says a great deal about our performance. Finish with ease and balance and we’ve likely been accurate and effective. Finish abruptly and off kilter and we’ve likely missed the mark. Stopping short usually spells failure.

On the surface, this seems odd. Shouldn’t our success depend on what happens when we impart the force, impact the projectile or strike the implement? I mean, how much effect can a follow through really have after I’ve already achieved launch?

The key to the great finish is the freedom to “swing for the fences.” The deep breath of release that allows you to unleash full force, to let ‘er rip and see where she lands. This freedom to swing out of your shoes is the object of every amateur’s dreams and the signature of every champion’s finish. For sure, it has been honed over thousands of hours of painstaking attention to alignment, preparation, timing and execution.

Show me a good finish and I’ll tell you who made the putt, threw the strike, split the fairway or cleared the fence nearly every time. We’re meant to complete what we’ve started. To follow a strong start with a strong finish.

Just like our Designer who assures us we can be confident of this, “that the One who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” ~ Phil 1:6

Because the One who put us into motion has planned for our completion, we can swing for the fences without fear of striking out, we can pull full force without fear of falling, we can strike our shot without fear of missing.

Because the finish line ain’t moving. Neither is the fence, the hole, the base or the baseline. We’re meant to keep swinging, free and clear, trusting the outcome, come what may.

We’re not designed to come to a sudden stop. We’re meant to swing and follow through, kick and follow through, throw and follow through, serve and follow through. That’s how we learn to trust ourselves and our practice.

We should have planned this from the beginning. Fortunately, Someone did.

Let it go doesn’t free him, it frees you

IMG_0833Let it go doesn’t mean letting him get away with it.

It means you get to get away from it. Away from the anger and the angst. Away from the clenching and clutching. Away from the wrenching of your gut that says, This ain’t right; something needs to change here.

Let it go means you speak your piece and take your leave.

Don’t wait around to see how he reacts. Don’t insist on meeting every objection he musters. And certainly don’t square off to put the gloves on and punch his lights out.

What is to be gained from engaging? Every time before you’ve come away bloodied and bruised. Never have you changed his way of thinking into your way of thinking. Why do you tarry? Speak in staccato. Hit your note and get off of it.

Walk away a free woman. You have brought right to light. Let it do its work, and you go do yours. Go do what you came for. Which isn’t to change him. It’s to change the world. One voice, one word, one soul at a time.

Meet you on the road. Let’s talk about all those ideas that just came rushing into your mind because you are no longer consumed by him. by lies. by fear. That’s freedom. Not just freedom from, but freedom for…action. That’s the furthest thing from subservient I know. In fact, it’s downright subversive.

Letting go doesn’t let him get away with it. It lets you get on with it.

Let us be off. There’s much work to be done.

Thank you tosses and goes, Gratitude stays and helps

“I can say what I want. It’s a free country!” the kid said, shoving his friend a little harder than a friend shoves a friend. The rest of us standing in line to board the flight pretended not to notice these boys ‘doing what boys do’.

That kid is feeling pretty free. I’m thinking he probably has had a pretty smooth ride to today. It’s likely he hasn’t experienced much hardship, suffered significant tragedy, or been the victim of persecution or injustice. These are the heavy burdens that tend to come into our adult lives and, thankfully, the very young are unaware, but when do we introduce them to our kids so they can become acquainted?

game board pieces start
Oh, we teach our kids to say please and thank you. We teach them to say I’m sorry. We insist they sit up straight and eat their vegetables. But do we teach them that sometimes things don’t go as planned, and in fact sometimes things stray very far from the plan and we must carry them through anyway?

Just say thank you
gets us part way. It gets us to the starting spot on the game board and ready to play. We pick up the dice where our thanks takes its turn. Thanks tosses and goes. It launches from the start point and doesn’t look back. That’s the way the game is played. Take no prisoners; first to finish wins.

But what needs doing?, hesitates before hefting the dice. Onlookers might suppose this is for rule clarification or directional assistance, but actually it’s for confirmation. What needs doing? pauses to be sure it’s really her turn. Is there anyone who needs a lift to the game before I begin?

I pray…

“Lord, show me the need I’m meant to attend to?”

“Dear one, you couldn’t bear the masses of hurt, pain and hatred you would see through My light.”

“How do you bear it? How can you live that way?”

“I didn’t. It killed me. Now I do.”

…”I am so grateful. Show me how to live in deep gratitude for this rather than in the shallow thanks that precipitates please, may I have another.

“Lord, there is no other. You are my way to our unfathomably generous God. Please help me live out my gratitude.”

Gratitude forgives.
Gratitude understands.
Gratitude reconciles.
Gratitude works with.
Gratitude gives back.

Gratitude commits for the long haul.
It perseveres.
It doesn’t look around for better options.
It finds a place for everyone.

Truly Grateful stays and helps,
Thanks tosses and goes.

Free is not free from burden.
Its hands are empty and held out.
What needs doing?

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