New guest walks in. Giving them the tour. Explaining all the unfinished parts of my home. Why I would choose a different paint color now. Where the white subway tile backsplash will maybe, someday be. Pointing out the open construction on the cupboards. I'm apologizing for all the ways my house is unfinished, and in some way, why I am too.
In this season of loving my littles, I have a genuine sense of living in unfinished business all the time. When I'm in my home, I can feel caged by all the items left to do, staring face to face at the projects awaiting us for the exact, someday, maybe never, but hopefully soon, open-ended, unscheduled time.
I wrote a list of these items so I could stop repeating them in my head. They range from writing letters, to printing our family pictures from Matthias' birth, to scrapbooking my Christmas cards, and tiling my kitchen backsplash. When I looked at the list, I laughed a little. Yeah right, that's never going to happen. And then I got mad. You are NOT the boss of me list! Or should I be mad at the tasks that I think I can't finish? I so can do this! And this! And...this? Crap. Then I shut my journal, squeezed my eyes tight, and let it fester for a little while.
Why do I care? Why do I desperately want to finish, all things big and small? Why, when it doesn't even matter to anybody but me in the first place? I'm so...discontent. Disheartened.
God is a finisher, isn't he? He always finishes what he starts. And what a huge relief. What if he hadn't come and died and rose again? What if he hadn't proclaimed that "it is finished?"
He's still finishing all over the place. He's never done with us, is he?
I'm so glad He doesn't start and leave the kitchen backsplash in the renovation of my heart. I can't even believe he thinks I'm worth the time to finish. Truth is, I'm not. But through Christ, He is finishing this good work in me. Nothing I've done has merited the finisher to finish. And yet, I can picture Him bringing out his Fat Max toolbox on the daily to restore his handiwork in my life.
But you know what? Not all things in my life are worth finishing. Most of the items on my to do list are so ridiculously trivial. Would it be nice? Absolutely! Essential? No! And some of the items I decided to cross off to "finish" in my brain and heart by calling them not worthy of my time right now.
So what is worthy of my time to finish? Many things come to mind. This blog post, for one, which has been sitting, unfinished, in my draft folder for quite some time. My breakfast and coffee, which usually sits cold until I throw it out halfway through the day. Studying 1 John, with all its love, abide, children of God goodness. The puzzle I started with Titus. The text I was drafting to my husband to check in on halfway through the day four hours ago. This podcast season of DWITW, which has opened my eyes to the upmost importance of discipleship in our lives.
Even more than these "things," I'm praying for a "holy discontent," as John Piper puts it. 2 Peter 1:5-8 says, "For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." THAT, my friends, is what my heart longs to be discontent over. The problem is not my discontent, but rather where that discontent is directed. I get so distracted with the undone that impacts nothing and no one that I am blind to the undone that has the real Kingdom power: the undone in my heart.
I need God to create a deep discontent within me over the state of my heart.
And I need to realize I can't finish what God started. Only He can.
So today, I'm asking God to keep working on me. To give me a holy discontent. And when I fail in all the ways, that He would help me realize I can't master any of these virtues without Him. I need him to finish it for me.
And I'm going to stop apologizing for being unfinished. Instead, I'm going to invite people to see where God is working to redeem and restore me, where He is adding the nuts and bolts and finishes for His glory.
Lord, give me grace for today, while I'm living in this unfinished world with this unfinished flesh. And thanks, God, for always finishing what you start.