Never Stop Starting

pressing start buttonI didn’t make up the phrase, but I love it: Never stop starting.

Not only is the phrase short and simple, but it can be applied to a cornucopia of situations.

I first heard it from a professor at Covenant Seminary, Dr. Robert Peterson. He was talking about it in the context of devotions. I think we were talking about how “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1).

Dr. Peterson was saying how easy it is for us as Christians to wrongly condemn ourselves and to be so discouraged when we fall short that we give up on a good thing altogether. In the case of devotions, we may have them three days in a row and then miss four days. An easy temptation would be to berate ourselves, say “What’s the point of trying now?” and stop.

Instead, he suggested we put on a more biblical mindset that would say, “I am so discouraged and feel like a loser for missing four days, but I know it was only by God’s grace that I ever did any days at all and that He loves me based on what Christ has done and not on what I have done, so I guess by His grace I can start again.”

God knows our frames. He knows we are finite. He knows we will sin and will fail. But because there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, we can ask for forgiveness and BE FORGIVEN and move on, restart.

“Never stop starting” quickly became a mantra of sorts for me, one who is not overloaded in the discipline department. I can easily be big on ideas but limited in execution. Being willing to never stop starting makes it impossible for me to think I EVER am doing something good in my own strength. I humbly admit I can’t even do the “simplest” things consistently. Ask God to help me. And then I get up again.

Basically any discipline—spiritual, physical, mental—can either be an opportunity to draw near to God in dependence or for independent self-flagellation. Personally, I think God wants His children to err toward the former.

In that spirit, may I never stop starting. . .

Reading my Bible, praying with my kids, going on dates with Doug, getting to know my neighbors, initiating time with friends, making an effort to have family meals, running, making time to read for pleasure, and many other good things.

Rather than beating ourselves up over how long it has been since we did x, how about we just do x. And then the next day we do x again. And the next day. And then when six days pass without doing x, rather than throwing in the towel, we do a day of x again. And then another. And so on. His mercies are new every morning. There is no need for us to ever stop starting.

What things do you need to never stop starting?

Julie profile picJulie Serven craves shalom for people and places. She enjoys editing, helping people with literacy skills, hearing people’s stories, exploring all things OKC, yoga, NPR, and spending time with her ultracool family.