I just turned 39 years old in August. Yet, for some reason, the message God is giving to me in my 40th year on the earth is “Finish well.”
No, I’m not dying. Not that I’m aware of anyway.
But I’m well aware of the culture we live in—a culture that began about a hundred and fifty years ago at the time of the Industrial Revolution. A culture where, “Today’s leaders,” as Alex Soojung-Kim Pang describes, “Treat stress and overwork as a badge of honor, brag about how little they sleep and how few vacation days they take, and have their reputations as workaholics carefully tended by publicists and corporate PR firms.”
I have seen the same in ministry. In an era of platform building, content development, and social media comparison, it’s way too easy to prioritize ministry and confuse what we do with who we are.
I got this confused too. Maybe that’s why finishing well matters to me so much. I have had a pattern through the years of going hard, burning out, and crashing. Going hard, burning out, and crashing.
I have also seen the same in family life. In an era of Instagram and Pinterest, private sports lessons, tutors, gourmet recipes, and tranquil vacations with children (though we all know there is no such thing) have become the measuring stick of how we’re doing as parents.
Unfortunately, this way of living has left parents feeling frantic and out of control. In a recent survey of over 700 parents, we found that “being too busy” or “not having enough time” was the biggest parenting struggle of our day.
Yet, as I study the Scriptures, research on success, and data on raising great kids, I see why Paul was adamant about fighting the good fight, finishing the race, and keeping the faith (2 Timothy 4:7; Hebrews 12:1).
If it wasn’t easy to finish well then, how much more difficult is it in a Western world where work has become our identity and being busy our badge of honor?
Finishing a race is impossible if we don’t pace ourselves.
As I process what it means to “finish well,” I’m learning that it begins and ends by being famous at home.
Practically, here’s what I mean…