It is not how you start…but how you finish. FINISH STRONG
I remember when I started my doctoral program in the Fall of 2015; I started off strong. I read every syllabus, thoroughly. I read every book, every article, and attended every class—being on time and even staying late. I was eager and passionate about my studies. However, four years into my doctoral program, after I finished my course work and the only thing that I had left with was my dissertation, I was tired. I had been in academia (pursuing higher education) since I was seventeen years old. I remember sitting at my desk editing 175-page dissertation. I honestly didn’t know how I was going to finish…until one day, my mentor called me on the phone and said to me, “Michael? Just edit one chapter per month until you are finished. I will review each chapter after you edit it and we will continue this process until you are finished.” I followed his advice and as you know, I graduated in May of 2020.
Moreover, finishing well takes internal strength; finishing well, sometimes, requires for you to dig a little deeper into the bottom of your well of strength, wisdom, and courage. Finishing well requires for you to push yourself beyond your normal routine and practices. Finishing well requires for you to keep going even when you don’t think you have anything left in the tank. Finishing well also requires for you to keep fighting even when you begin to wonder and think to yourself, “Is it even worth fighting for, anymore?”
Friends—2020 has been a challenging year for us as a nation and for many of you as individuals. An enemy known as the Coronavirus invaded our nation without our permission. We have (and are still going through) major transitions in Washington, D.C. And so much more.
However, I want to encourage you to finish the last portion of this year, strong. You may feel like throwing in the towel; but don’t. You may feel like packing your bags and running away; but don’t. You may even feel like walking away from the faith; but don’t. No matter what happens, keep the faith. No matter what happens, keep pushing. And no matter what happed, make sure you FINISH 2020 STRONG!
I am going to leave you with the words from that ancient letter to the churches in the region of Galatia, “Let’s not become weary in well doing, for in due season [you] will reap if [you] faint not” (6:9).
Grace. Peace. Hope. Love.
Pastor Michael L. Sloan