I am thinking today about a problem I often have with my golf swing. If you have golfed with me, you might being thinking, “Which one???
It’s a fair question.
The answer is…the follow through. I can do everything right through impact, but if there is no follow through, the ball simply does not go where I intend.
Last summer I came across Father Thomas Hopko’s 55 Maxims for Christian Living. It is a list worthy of consideration, and chock full of blog material.
25. Be faithful in little things
In some ways, I am really good at this. I take care of my belongings, put things back in their place, take my grocery cart to the holder. I am polite, say “Please” and “Thank you,” hold doors for people, smile. I am careful to recycle, not litter, waste as little food as possible.
You probably do most of these things too. And they are good things, to be sure.
But there are some things I don’t do well…and most of them are a result of neglecting the follow through. It is a lesson I have been shown dozens of times. And still, I seem not to have learned?
I lose 30 pounds, then stop exercising and making wise food choices…start refinishing a piece of furniture, then get distracted…start cleaning the basement…
Lots of starting. No follow through.
How about you? Do you ever start something and not finish? I am guessing you do.
And while that is annoying, it isn’t always a huge deal. I can always go back and finish a household task. I can start exercising again. I can fix all of that.
What I can’t fix is when I don’t follow through with people. When I am not faithful in little things with people I love.
Have you been there?
We promise to help with a difficult chore, or help with an event at church or school. But we don’t put it on the calendar, or we overextend ourselves and have to cancel. Generally, people understand. We are all busy and often absent-minded.
It is far more damaging when we ignore follow through from a relationship stand point.
When we vow to think before speaking, but anger wins once again and the nasty words spill out.
When we promise to set time aside and don’t.
When we know we are doing something that annoys a partner or spouse, promise to make a change, but never do.
We have every intention, don’t we?
My grandmother used to say, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions!” True that.
Intentions are like a check written on a closed bank account. Intentions - and the promise they imply - without follow through are more hurtful than refusal to change. Intentions are the carrot on a stick that is always just out of reach.
Do you get that?
If you are like me, you have to learn the lesson more than once…and it often fails to register until there is great pain all around.
After impact with the golf ball, the club continues through the swing plane, the shoulders open and the upper body should end up facing the target. That is a good follow through. Anything else will push the ball, pull the ball, take away from the distance.
I can learn that.
I can finish painting the furniture, and clear the unnecessary items the basement. No harm done.
But tonight, I will stare at the ceiling, wondering if the hurts caused, the time lost, the trust betrayed by lack of follow through can ever be repaired.
Be faithful in little things.
Do what you say. Choose time with the ones who are most important. Follow through on intentions.
Little things that make up a day, then a month, then a lifetime.
I will say a prayer that you will find resolve to follow through, and renewal with folks you have hurt.
Maybe you will say a similar prayer for me.
We will talk again soon…
Beth Painter is a writer and motivational speaker. You can follow her on Facebook on the “Think Big focus small” page.
Beth is available to speak to your group about how to make your dreams and desires come to life!