“Nope, you didn’t follow-through.”
I cannot tell you how many times I heard my coach say those words.
I have always loved playing the game of volleyball. When I was in middle school, the girl in high school that I looked up to the most was beautiful on the inside but a beast on the court. She was the model outside hitter, and I dreamed of filling her shoes when she graduated. Athletics always came naturally to me, and I think part of that just came from just being a physically strong kid. Needless to say, I had all the power in the world to hit the ball hard and serve it far.
At least that’s how I thought it would go.
My serve was uncontrollable, and my spikes were hardly different. No matter how hard I tried, 50% of the time my hits went in the net, and the other 50% they went far out of bounds.
“It doesn’t matter how strong you are if you don’t follow-through.”
That’s what they told me, and they were 100% right.
I’m starting to learn that those word apply to far more than just my time on the court.
Frankly, I’ve been in a rut. Spiritually, I feel a bit stuck. It is not for a lack of desire. I don’t feel rebellious or bitter. My Christianity just feels dry and my personal walk fatigued. I still look forward to church every Sunday and leave feeling rejuvenated, convicted, and uplifted. I feel like I want more of God, or at least, I want to want more of Him.
The desires are genuine, but I’m still not as faithful as I want to be. Spiritual conversations feel forced, and my seemingly scarce personal time in the Word is laced with apathy and distractions. So where is the disconnect?
Tonight it hit me.
It doesn’t matter how “strong you are,” how real your desires are, how much head knowledge of God you have, how right your intentions are…if you don’t follow-through.
Intent vs. follow-through is a battle in so many areas of life: exercise, academics, diets, relationships, goals, hobbies, tasks, etc. And so it goes for the Christ-follower’s relationship with his or her Lord.
Follow-through may take different forms for different people, but I think it starts with a prayer of dedication, reliance on the Holy Spirit’s power and work within us, and a careful look at what has robbed our attention and first priority.
For me, tonight it started in the form of denying myself in a prayer of hesitant surrender. “Please take from me my life when I don’t have the strength to give it away to you, Jesus.”¹
I realized that I had been denying the Holy Spirit from working freely in my heart and mind by approaching the throne with leftover time and apathy. The help of the Holy Spirit is completely essential if we are to have any hope of following through; my flesh is too weak to consistently seek God on my own.
Practically, following-through took the form of deleting some apps on my phone…that’s right. A careful consideration of my recent devos reminded me of how easily I allow myself to be distracted by my phone and how I have chosen social media over prayer and study over and over again. Bye, Instagram app!
Prayer and reading were different tonight.
So, friend, do you have good intentions and still feel stuck? Take it from my coach, and consider your follow-through.
¹”Take My Life” by Third Day, 1995