I was preparing to move to San Diego, and I had a self-discovery moment the other night. My intention is to develop a new behavior pattern to overcome a weakness. In preparation for our move, I was finishing up a number of small projects so the house is ready to rent. I was caulking and nail filling some trim that I had put in our master bedroom about 3 years ago. It was painted prior to installation, but instead of doing the final touches to make it look finished, I moved on to other projects. Nothing like a move-out deadline to get motivated to finish!
As I was working, I was reflecting on previous homes and moving out of them. In our second home in Washington (we owned 4 different homes over 13 years…), I didn’t finish the trim in the master bathroom until we moved out. Hmmm…see a pattern here? I like doing improvement projects and get a lot done, but for some projects, I think I get to about the 95% done point and then move on to the next project. The problem is over the six years of living in this house, I have about 8 projects with 5% to finish. And now I’m scrambling to finish them up by Christmas.
What about other areas? What about ministry projects? I think that sometimes I do the same thing…get to the 95% point and move on to a new project. I get a lot done and organize a lot of ministry activities, but if I’m leaving 5% undone, then the quality of the projects aren’t to the level of excellence that they need to be. In sermon preparation, doing the last 5% is finishing the sermon writing early enough to practice it a few times. In event planning, doing the last 5% is delegating the cleanup early enough in the process that I don’t end up doing 75% of the cleanup on event day.
Why do I do this? Maybe because I’m trying to get too many things done. Maybe because the challenge of a new project overcomes my desire to complete my current project. Whatever the reason, when I follow the 95% pattern, it diminishes the excellence of whatever I’m working on, robs others of the opportunity of participating in kingdom service, and frustrates me that I’m doing too much at the last minute when others participating would have shared the load.
So here’s my resolution: I will do the last 5%! In ministry projects, I will plan far enough in advance to delegate each area required to complete them with excellence. In home projects (although I’m planning on being a renter for a while), I’ll see each project through to completion and not let them sit unfinished.
And you’re invited ask me, “Are you doing the last 5%?” Thanks! Pray for me, too, that I will accomplish the work that God has called me to do, in the power of his Holy Spirit, with excellence, for the glory of God.