Acts 11:18  – When they heard Peter say this, they stopped arguing and started praising God. They said, “God has now let Gentiles turn to him, and he has given life to them!”

Gratitude Day 728

Every day, we do things in which we start and we stop.

We start driving … and we stop at an intersection.

I begin eating … and hopefully stop before I’m too full!

We scroll on our phones, finding out what other people are doing. But also know there comes a time when we should stop looking at other people’s lives and start living our own.

There are some starts in our lives that often feel a little scary. Getting married. Starting a new job. Moving across the country.

The first time I ran a 10K race many years ago, I felt terribly unsure if this was a good idea. Yes, I had trained but I had not ran a full 6 miles before the race began. I stood towards the back of the pack, knowing that I did not want to start the race running too fast. I plodded along, which is how I run. You know, more Clydesdale style than gazelle style. The course was hilly and it seemed like a long ways between each mile marker.

At about mile 4, I was getting tired. A man a couple decades older than me started running with me. He asked me questions: where I was from, what I did for a living. Then, he asked how many 10K runs I had completed. He was a little shocked when he heard this was my very first one. In fact, it would be the very first time I had ever ran a full 6.1 miles. Ever. He had ran so many races he’d lost count long time ago. He’d ran countless 5K’s and 10K’s, a number of half-marathons and even several full marathons. He had started running later in life and had not stopped.

The man matched his strides to mine and kept pace with me. It was clear that he could have taken off and finished the race ahead of me. But he didn’t want me to STOP. He wanted me to get across the finish line. So, he ran those last two miles with me. Every. Step. Of. The. Way.

He cheered me at the finish line and made a big deal about finishing my first 10K. He was my personal cheerleading section at the end of the run.

I admired this man for not focusing on his personal race. He completely focused on mine and making sure I finished the run. It wasn’t important to him if he placed in his age category or not. He was not going to let me fail in running my first 10K on his watch.

Often when we start something, we do not know what will be necessary to finish. We lack the full knowledge needed to get across the finish line, whatever that maybe. We flounder along the way and make mistakes. Sometimes, we even stop. We don’t finish.

For me, stopping something is really, really hard. I feel like I let someone else, and myself, down. There have been a few times when I let something go because I didn’t have adequate time to complete it. I’ve discovered that it was not maybe a lack of time, but a lack of priority, why I didn’t follow through.

When I don’t finish something, it is easy to feel like a failure. “Why couldn’t have I finished this,” I wonder.

But here’s the deal. Maybe we should become more comfortable with stopping. Sometimes, we keep going at something that really isn’t our deal. Or what we are good at. We decide to finish “no matter what.” There is often good advice for doing this. Finishing what we start is usually best. But there are times when letting something go is OK. Helpful. Best.

When we’ve lost our passion, it’s OK to stop. If we feel there are other opportunities that feel more important, we can let something else go. At times, other more pressing things have demanded that I set something aside. And it is OK.

We can stop doing something forever. Or, we can stop something for a season. Maybe we just need to stop for now and decide later if we should pick it back up.

Looking back at how Jesus did ministry, he was honest with his disciples. Sometimes, you’ll just need to move on, he told them. This was his way to giving them permission to stop. It would be OK.

I’m so glad the man kept running with me that day. It was so very kind and also what got me across the finish line. Sometimes, our role is to help someone else get across the finish line. Complete something they set out to do. Be their cheerleader to encourage them along the way.

And other times, maybe we just need to stop. And be OK with it.

Part of life is figuring out what to start and also when to stop. We need both in our lives.

For permission to know when to start and when to stop, I am grateful.

Blessings –


Holy God – Thank you for those people who have come along side me and encouraged me to finish something that I started. What a gift they have been! May I also embrace the wisdom of knowing when to start and when to stop and the beauty of doing both. Amen.

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