3 Most Important Challenges of Any Undertaking

 

Whether you’re trying to lose weight, or start a new business there are three significant challenges you are going to face.

Getting Started. Yes, that’s right. The first challenge we all face is getting started. We want to analyze it, or we simply want to procrastinate until the time is right. Author O. S. Hawkins wrote, “The first mile is often ignored. . .the first mile is always the hardest. Ask the distance runner. The second wind never kicks in on the first mile.”[1]

Unfortunately, somewhere along the path of our journey Newton’s Law kicks in—if you don’t apply enough force to an object at rest, it will stay at rest forever.

That’s where faith needs to kick in. We need the courage of our convictions and of the mission to apply enough force to whatever is blocking our pathway and get the “object” in motion. We need to take that first step. It might not be perfect, but at least we’re moving toward the goal.

The Middle. One of my favorite songs is Stealer’s Wheel’s Stuck in the Middle with You. It defines the challenge of the middle— “clowns to the left of me; jokers to the right; here I am stuck in the middle with you.” When we’re in the middle part of us wants to go back to the comfort of the past, and part of us wants to go on to the objective in the promising future. We’re stuck.

When I was a kid my Dad had a lot of work in the California desert. To get himself out into the land he needed to see and appraise, he retro-fitted a 1946 Mercury coupe into a dune buggy. One day, in the middle of the hot Mojave Desert we got stuck. As a kid, I longed to just get back to our tow car, have some water, and go home. But my dad, always the solution finder, needed to press on to the parcel of land he needed to see. We freed our buggy by digging and using some wooden planks my dad had stored in the vehicle. Good planning for being stuck in the middle.

We need to prepare ourselves for the middle. Sometimes we’ll zoom past it, and other times we’ll need to dig ourselves out of it. We may need encouragement or coaching. We may need to draw on the “planks” we packed ahead just in case we needed them, in the middle.

Finishing. Rita Emmett, in her book, The Procrastinator’s Handbook: Mastering the Art of Doing it Now, lists three reasons people hate finishing:

  • There will just be another crummy job to do.
  • The meaning and purpose found in the current project will stop
  • There is concern that the completed project will be unsuccessful or disappointing.[2]

We often fear finishing, or we fear the success of finishing. Either way, we’re bogged down. How do we make those last few steps to completion? The apostle Paul said it best when he wrote, “press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14).”

That’s it. We press on. We keep going and break through the fear of finishing. Like a competitive runner we see the finish line and we stretch ourselves to push through it.

A friend of mine has chronic foot problems. In spite of his problems walking, he decided to enter a half-marathon. He ran/walked the race and completed the course finishing last. The next day at church a person asked him how he did. When he related the story, the person chuckled. Another person, standing nearby, overheard the account and looked at the chuckling man deadpanned, “At least he ran and finished the race.”

Whether you are about to begin, in the middle or not quite at the finish line, take heart. You are on a journey. Enjoy it. Don’t allow the critics upset you. Don’t let your own fear obstruct you. Keep on keeping on. Take pride in accomplishment, then look for the next one.

[1] O.S. Hawkins, The Joshua Code: 52 Scripture Verses Every Believer Should Know, (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson), 2012, 172

[2] Rita Emmett, The Procrastinator’s Handbook: Mastering the Art of Doing It Now, (New York, Walker & Co, 2000), 83, 84

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Trust is the winsome wedding of faith and hope.

Brennan Manning

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