When "Well Done" is Incomplete.
I posted the picture above to share with you all a STRUGGLE of mine: Completion. A job left undone is like nails on a chalkboard for me. When I say a struggle, I mean for myself and anyone along side me.
This picture is my son's room. I love this space. It has always been a safe haven for me...even before he was born. Once we decorated this room, I would sit - still pregnant - and just pray, or cry, or just smile. This room represented a fulfillment to a desire God gave me at a very young age - to be a mom. I love this room. It is peaceful and calm.
I worked hard to always keep it that way. (which means neat, tidy and calm)
Now, those of you with boys - are laughing. Those of you with kids - are concerned. Those of you with teens - are warning ... I get it. It is easy to keep things in order and complete when we are the only ones involved. Gavin is now 5. I am having to find peace in the mess.
But back to the picture - This room in its current state is incomplete - but well done.
Let me explain.
Gavin makes his bed(s) everyday.
Gavin puts away his own laundry.
Gavin is responsible for books and toys and stuffed animals in his room.
These are all things I use to do. But now, as he gets older - he carries a portion of the responsibility. I want to go in and do it all for him. Partially because I want to help, and part because it is "incomplete" and I can wrap up those lose ends. But it does him no good. It misses the opportunity to teach responsibility and skills, but also pride and joy in his accomplishment.
Today, I folded the laundry and placed his in neat piles according to drawers on his "neatly" made beds (actually very neat for a 5yo) and stepped back and thought about how much motherhood teaches me about God. How much I see myself in my son. And how lofty my goals are when I see God parent me so so well.
But more so in this moment, I see how sometimes God calls us to leave things incomplete. This challenges my work ethic, conflicts with my perfectionism, and agitates my inner critic. But many times in my life God has called me to step away before the job was done. And today I realized that those words I long to hear from Him one day: "Well done my good and faithful servant" can still be uttered in the incomplete.
This moment I sat in was evidence of this truth. As simple as it was, God wants me - as a mom - to leave things "incomplete." To teach my son to obey. To teach my son to work hard. To teach him to serve. To be reliable. To put others first. To find joy in the simple tasks. And so much more ... all skills he will need, later in life as a believer, when the Holy Spirit prompts him to action.
King David, in the Bible was a shining example of this. David wanted to build the house of God - the temple. He planned and prepared and obeyed in gathering supplies for the temple. When delivered a blow that God intended to give him a son who would build the temple using all the materials David labored to compile, David had a choice. (1 Chronicles 22:8-10) To pass the baton graciously or begrudgingly begin building.
David's response is recorded in 1 Chronicles 22:11-16
"Now, my son, may the Lord be with you; and may you prosper, and build the house of the Lord your God, as He has said to you. Only may the Lord give you wisdom and understanding, and give you charge concerning Israel, that you may keep the law of the Lord your God. Then you will prosper, if you take care to fulfill the statutes and judgments with which the Lord charged Moses concerning Israel. Be strong and of good courage; do not fear nor be dismayed. Indeed I have taken much trouble to prepare for the house of the Lord one hundred thousand talents of gold and one million talents of silver, and bronze and iron beyond measure, for it is so abundant. I have prepared timber and stone also, and you may add to them. Moreover there are workmen with you in abundance: woodsmen and stonecutters, and all types of skillful men for every kind of work. Of gold and silver and bronze and iron there is no limit. Arise and begin working, and the Lord be with you.”
David passed the baton. David saw his "incomplete" was in fact complete.
In 2017, I left my job. I gave a lofty 4 month notice, but at the end of the day, I left a large project for others to complete. Although this project was planned, outlined, organized and set for success - it was still "incomplete" in my eyes. I toiled with God over needing to finish strong, be reliable, and leave no stone undone. But in those conversations, He reminded me that He brought me those who could finish what I started. He was orchestrating the completion without me. This was SO OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE. Please hear me in this. What God asks of you is not always comfortable. What He convicts you of will not always be understood by others - or even yourself. But obedience is a beautiful thing because you can look back and see the blessings, see His provision. And this is no different. Just because you may be shifted before completion - evidence of God's provision is no less.
The other side to this truth is the blessings we rob others of when we push through that conviction to walk away or stop. When I am asked to step back - someone else is asked to step forward. It is just as important for me to obey ... as it is for them. And when I don't - I rob them of the opportunity.
I look at the project I left on the table with my job and the individuals I left it to and they did amazing. (I know this because I had incredible customers who knew it would encourage me to know it went well).
Was it as I would have done - not to a "T" - but it went well.
I look at my son's room and laundry and his stuffed dresser drawers and recall how joyful he obeyed and proud he was of his work.
Was it as I would have done - not to a "T" - but my son did it with a joyful heart.
What has God asked you to step out of that you are toiling with God over leaving incomplete? Take a second look today and ask God to give you faith to see and believe that you did your part.
On a side note, this is not an opportunity to bow out prematurely. Be sure, be confident your action or inaction is obedience. Bathe your decision in prayer.