Do you ever find yourself excited at the onset of a new plan, only to become overwhelmed halfway through, a desire to quit suddenly more tangible than the dream itself?
If so, you’re not alone.
I’ll be the first to raise my hand and say, “Me too.”
Whether it’s an important personal goal, or movement toward spiritual growth, the struggle of middle ground often presents a treacherous climb.
Wheels of hustle begin losing traction, and we find ourselves desperate for a strong dose of momentum.
Not long ago, I experienced this firsthand, along with a little nugget of truth that helped me press on, even when things got tough.
It was a beautiful day, and in the spirit of Spring and home improvements, I set out to paint the front porch.
Just a simple project.
Or so I thought, since only the outer frame and supporting posts needed attention.
A cool breeze teasing the countryside, I popped open a gallon of dark gray Valspar, stirring the thick liquid in anticipation of spending about two hours on the task.
A dip of the brush, a climb up the ladder, and there it was.
The first stroke of rich color pressed against thirsty wood, gleaming in the sunlight.
As soft birdsong floated on a gentle wind, morning shadows played across green grass. And though exterior painting is not my forte, the experience was refreshing and invigorating.
Three hot and sweaty hours later, though, the rise of an afternoon sun began taking it’s toll, my desire to quit bubbling up alongside it.
Isn’t that how it often happens in the pursuit of life goals as well?
Heat and pressure have a way of becoming unwanted catalysts, tempting us to throw in the towel midway through our journey.
Where thoughts of victory once reigned, the haunting cry of defeat echoes gloom and failure instead.
Like on the path toward a healthier lifestyle, or during the uncertainty of learning a new skill.
Or when we’re trying to navigate the uncharted waters of long held dreams, a disillusioned cadence beating through tender places of our hearts.
More important still, defeat taunts us on the sacred journey toward Godly character, and in the pursuit of days filled with purpose.
Stuck between the vision and the finish line, letting go seems the best route to take.
Red faced and tired, that’s where I was, standing on an aluminum ladder while hopelessly staring down the long stretch of bare boards, wanting to step down and move on with my day.
Until I looked back.
Until I realized just how far I had come.
It was a subtle mindset shift that became a driving force, suddenly bringing truth to light with a thoughtful reminder.
Momentum isn’t always found in pressing forward. Sometimes, it comes by simply appreciating how far we’ve come.
When fighting the urge to quit, looking back may be a key component in the process of moving ahead, an underlying current of strength to help us stay the course.
It’s surrender, but not defeat.
It’s a necessary time of pressing pause and embracing the stillness.
As heat and pressure swirl around us, we can remember that strength comes from above, and success isn’t always measured in giant strides.
Sometimes, it rises with rich tones of Valspar paint, floating softly on an afternoon breeze.
Temptation may threaten to derail our vision, shifting an old ladder in the wind, but we can stand firm and say,
“I’ve come too far to turn back now.”
More determined to appreciate the process, one step at a time – even while reflecting on a Spring afternoon in the country and a simple porch painting project.
Because, thankfully, I pressed on, finally finishing the job.
Five. Hours. Later.
Complete with a lopsided sunburn, swollen joints, and paint spattered clothing.
But oh, so very glad I did not give up.