The Unfinished Race

More and more often, I live waiting for projects, trials, seasons, and to-do lists to be finished. I’m plagued by the illusion that contentment comes from completion. Once I hit a particular deadline, or accomplish a particular task, or meet a particular goal, I’ll be ok. I’m only stressed because of what’s unfinished.

But the truth is, for every day we have breath on this earth, our work will always be unfinished.

There is a race to be run and a prize to be sought! If you want the prize, you don’t decide to relax at mile 3, 10, or even 25 of a marathon. You keep pressing on, enduring fatigue, cramps, and blisters and focus on what lies ahead. Even the methods in which you rest and replenish are meant to strengthen you so that you can keep running. You don’t leave the race unfinished.

This is why it’s so dangerous to live in the ever illusive pursuit of finishing. Someday (hopefully) I’ll accomplish my goal to publish my book. But it’s a lie for me to believe that when that no longer looms over my head, it means I can relax. Someday this season of tantrums will be over, but that won’t mean I’m done discipling my kids. Life is a constant carousal of unfinished work.

If we are to serve the Lord faithfully, we need to be comfortable living in the “unfinished.” Otherwise, we’ll keep waiting for that breath of relief and grow discouraged when it never comes, or worse, waste our lives seeking it.

The moment we feel we can check out and relax is the moment we’ve forgotten our mission. Every day we reside on earth is because the Lord isn’t finished His work in us or His work through us. There is always another load of laundry to be folded, another meal to make, another way to give, another person to reach, another opportunity to disciple, another good work to do. But as we diligently race forward, we pass mile markers reminding us that there is a Savior waiting, who already said, “It is finished” so that we might find our completion in Him.


16 thoughts

  1. So very true. God uses our “unfinished” to build character, wisdom, and faith. Although I don’t always enjoy the difficult seasons while in the midst of them, I know God has made each of them fabulous teaching moments.


  2. Agreed! I think we stress out foolishly by always looking for the finish and the rest we think will follow it. Realizing that the Christian life is a marathon is helpful. Yes, it’s full of seasons that come and go, but we are still running and there will always be another step to take! Great post!


  3. Sometimes the unfinished projects can be overwhelming as I am more of a starter than a finisher! Yet, like you said, ‘it is finished’ and we do have victory. Those are hopeful words to continue each step of our journey, with joy and peace! Thanks!


  4. I can’t even express how much I needed to read this. I am currently working on my third book and am so anxious because it’s not finished and I’m having trouble moving the plot forward and wonder if I’m a fraud. I also get anxious because the floors are not yet clean (and I’ll have to do it again next week)! and the ironing is not done, and (the list goes on). I have trouble living an unfinished life. So yes, this was good to read.


  5. This really resounded with me. I love to finish my work, and get uneasy when I’m sitting in an unfinished mess. In fact, I often feel anxious because of unfinished business. But you are right to point out that we are running a race that will only be finished at the end of our lives here on earth. I have to keep that in mind – thanks for the reminder!


  6. I am grateful that the Father sees me, not as the mess that I am, but as complete through the work of redemption Jesus did on the cross. Your post reminds me that my sanctification is a daily process that Jesus will accomplish on His schedule… not mine!


  7. I really like this! I like that you mention taking your time even in a race! which is hard for even me in the race of life!


  8. We never truly are finished, are we? And God has such grace for us, if only we can have that for ourselves. This is a wonderful reminder, though, to keep persevering and running the race, not being discouraged by the lack of “finish” there is in the process!


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