Somewhere along the way, I picked up the idea that if I’ve started something, I might as well finish it.
As in, “I resisted the temptation to eat my emotions for a while, but now that the bag of potato chips is open, I might as well finish the whole thing.” Or “I know I’m not supposed to yell at my children, but now that I’ve got the TIRZAH MAE!!!!! out, I might as well finish my tirade.”
Sure, I feel guilty afterward. I swear that I’m NOT going to do it again. But then the staccato (and much too loud) “LOU-IS!” springs forth from between my clenched teeth and there we are again. I started, so I might as well finish.
But I’m coming to realize that’s not at all true.
In fact, if I want to have any success at not starting, I need to start by not finishing.
The “BETH-ELLEN!!” bursts out. I feel immediately guilty – and I stop. I take a breath, check my tone: “I’m sorry. Mama shouldn’t have yelled. Beth-Ellen, you may not…”
The more practice I get at stopping and repenting, the sooner I remember to stop. The sooner I remember to stop, the less frequently I start. I get into the habit of obeying the prompting of the Holy Spirit instead of ignoring him.
And my home becomes more and more peaceful, reflecting the fruits of the Spirit: peace, patience… gentleness, and self-control.
Mental note: just because you started, you don’t need to finish. In fact, it’s much better that you don’t.