Are you a starter, carrier, or finisher? – Christian Life Musings Ep.2
I find there are 3 types of people in life… Those who start, those who carry and those who finish. Perhaps you already know which one you are, but allow me to explain as I go somewhere with this. (Ahem… don’t skip to who you suspect you are!).
You may relate, let’s start with starters…
Those who start.
These people are visionary individuals who can “take on the world” in their dreams. They believe anything is possible and tend to agree with and inspire others to reach for more. They have drive and determination which helps them to build or support the foundational period of seeing a vision come to life. They also can run out of steam and then wish to pass on the torch or move on, once a vision or project is up and running. As a leader, they’d gather people, instill vision and help a project come to life. As a supporter of a vision, they’d buy into what it’s about and be ready to give their all to it.
We need them to help us believe in more and take on what we’d otherwise have not tried. They are planters of the garden.
Starters have to watch themselves that they see things through. Their tendency is to treat projects like a sprint, not a marathon. It’s easy for them to start and the follow through requires more effort than it does for others. They have to work habits into daily life to ensure life doesn’t come along and crowd out what they start. They must discern when to, “step away” and when they must look themselves in the eye and say, “Let’s keep on doing this”.
Those who carry.
These people love to look for someone to support and are loyal through the seasons come trial or victory. Their sense of constant company can support the weary starter while reminding that finishers will arrive. Carriers have the ability to carry the vision after the starter has all but given up or pulled out. They buy into a vision and then don’t easily weary with it. They have a lot of personal will power to keep going with the understanding of the bigger picture. While starters cast vision, carriers take the vision to a place the starter couldn’t have imagined.
We need them to help us, well… carry things through. And, they are well equipped to get down in the trenches with a starter and remind them that it’s good to keep on with what they began. They are tenders of the garden.
Carriers have to watch themselves that they don’t buy into something which God hasn’t put in their path. They can become overburdened if they support too many visions/people. They can also feel taken advantage of if they feel under-appreciated. After all, they’re likely carrying what someone else started! They need to watch that they keep in tune with what the current word from God is for them, so they don’t, “Over stay” when God is calling them to the next thing. That said, these people can be so in tune with how they feel, that they get too emotionally involved and then feel overwhelmed by something which isn’t theirs to carry. Remembering that God’s yoke is easy and light, is their staying power when the going get’s burdensome and allows them to carry what is theres while releasing to God what is His… It’s what helps them to fulfill this carrier role over the long-haul.
I personally believe carriers and finishers can sometimes be the same people, but a large portion of the time, they are different.
Those who finish.
These people are encouragers and the voice of “don’t give up”. Once they buy into a vision, they can be like a rock who is not moved. Their “can do” attitude carries them through any challenges on the horizon. Finishers spot weary need and opportunities to finish well. They are the one who hears about something and thinks up creative ways to bring it to completion.
We need them to help us find and action positive solutions for finishing well, whether that be in closing a chapter or passing something on to others. The fact they don’t have “history” with a project or vision, can frustrate the starter and carrier, but it is a strength to bring fresh perspective for those open to receiving the finisher when the time is right. When they each respect each other, the vision can start, run its course and finish well.
Finishers are harvesters of the garden. They do long hours for a concentrated time to bring about a necessary change in season.
They have to watch themselves that they treat the vision tenderly and love the starter and carrier with respect for all they have done already. They have to act with boldness to go where others have not gone before. They can be misunderstood and have to keep pushing past that, unafraid of how others will view them, so they can keep the goal of finishing at the forefront.
Let’s wrap this up with a few thoughts now we’ve loosely defined each type of person. How can this topic be meaningful to us in our spiritual life?
I believe it is useful for us to identify our strongest trait (starter, carrier, or finisher) and then ask God if we are living our best for Him in a way which draws out our natural strengths. Let me give you an example. If I were a carrier, then I could be asking God to help me let go of whatever I’m not intended to carry and ask Him to show me what I can support in order to live a life which makes the strengths He gave me, to shine through and be used for Him. Inversely, it would be inappropriate of me to shun every opportunity to start or finish, saying, “that’s not my strength”. We are all called to grow and mature, but what we focus on grows. If we give room for maturing but focus on living from a place of strength for God, we’ll add more to the body of Christ and be more useful to the world around us… we’ll enjoy more of what we do too!
As a starter myself, I had a rather frank discussion with God some years ago when He first gave me the idea for the Bible Art Journaling Challenge. At the time, there was nothing like it available and in prayer, He mapped out how He wanted me to do it. I said, “Yes Lord! Here I am. But, uh…. you do realize I’m a starter and you’ve just asked me to create a weekly lesson for an entire year, right?!?” As clear as day He whispered in my heart (with a chuckle), “I know, it’s good isn’t it?”!!! God know I could start well and, as so many of the words of my life have said, He knew I was one “willing to stay the course”. He knew I’d be great at starting and that I’d mature in the carrying and finishing. Along the way, I’ve become more well rounded by saying yes to things outside my strengths. But, starting is what I do well and the more I press into starting and bringing the right people around me to help me with the carrying and finishing, the more I’ll be able to impact those around me.
If you’re a starter, you may have signed up for a Bible Art Journaling Challenge or similar, ready to “take on the world!!” and by lesson 2 or 3, you’ve run out of some steam. This is real life and sometimes distractions come! What is needed to push into carry mode, is to ask ourselves what we want.
Do you want to grow spiritually? Do you want to learn some fun creative skills? What is it worth to you, to pursue this?
When we get to the finish line, it’s time to again, remind ourselves of how far we’ve come and why we are here to finish. Reminding ourselves of the vision, is what gives us steam to keep going. The reality is, when we say yes to something, we’re always saying no to something else. If you’re wanting to engage with something, remind yourself why you showed up in the first place. Put it on a piece of paper where you can see it often. “Carry” the vision in your heart and mind.
Join the discussion below!
Let’s connect in the comments about this important discussion. Please pop below and answer these 2 questions…
- Are you a starter, carrier, or finisher?
- How can you live more to your strengths as a starter, carrier, or finisher?
You are loved. x
Aug 16, 2019 @ 3:57 pm
I so agree with this thought process. I discovered a while ago that my Goldly gift was as an initiator. Acknowledging one’s gifts allows you to put them into action, to grow spiritually and to prepare spiritually for what God has for each of us. And while the other aspects of this process are important to me the most joy is opening and utilizing my creativity gift. Thank you !
Aug 16, 2019 @ 4:05 pm
I believe I am a carrier. I want to start, carry, AND finish, but I do flag at times. I also tend to have 10 projects going on at once, in various stages. Eventually they all get completed, but I admit to one or two that are approaching a 20 year time span.
I have found that having a deadline really helps me out in terms of pushing on and staying the course. Thank you for some great insight, not only for myself, but when working with others!
Karen Marie Koesler
Aug 16, 2019 @ 4:07 pm
I think Im a little of all 3. But more starter and finisher. I love to start stuff but my time gets so spread out with all that I have going on sometimes its months before I get back to something to finish it but then its full steam ahead to get it done. I love helping others in their projects. But my biggest hang up is if I need help. Im not good at asking for it. I think I need a time management class lol. Does this answer the quedtion???
Fred H Blakely
Aug 16, 2019 @ 4:34 pm
I believe that we should be cultivating all three of these aspects according to the season of work Gad has called us to, instead of making the work fit into our most natural proclivity. It is important to be aware of the seasons of work necessary to grow a garden. This is helpful in identifying personal strengths so that when the season changes we can get assistance from others who are stronger in different areas and learn from them.
Rebekah R Jones
Aug 16, 2019 @ 5:22 pm
Yes! As I also mentioned, maturing in all of these traits is important. That said, the Bible is clear that God made each of us unique because He wants each of us to play a unique part. If we don’t lean into what our unique purpose and strengths are, we are robbing the world around us, from what God designed only us to bring. Each of us has something to bring and if we’re all busy trying to be good at everything, then we’ll likely not excel in things God designed for us to be better at that anyone else around us. When we are each aware of what part of the body we are, then we can stay equipped and keep sharpening our skills for Him. Of course, there are times to grow and mature in areas which are not our strong suit, but on the whole, I feel the body of Christ would have so much more to offer the world around us if we were each to do better at leaning into what He created us to do better than others. I know for myself, I am better when surrounded by those who know their strengths and bring them with passion to fill in where I am only growing. We are designed to be better that each other at stuff so there is always others to lean on too. We all need each other in our journey with God.
Aug 18, 2019 @ 6:01 am
I so agree with Fred when he talks of seasons. I feel at the age of 68, I am a strong carrier. But in my earlier years I was definitely a starter. Not sure that my strength has ever been as a finisher, although I push myself to do so when necessary (and have always done so)! I really want to thank you, Rebekah, for writing this beautiful entry. I wish I had of read something like it 50yrs ago; I think it would have helped me much with situational angst. But, nevertheless, I deeply appreciate this opportunity to get to know myself and others more deeply.
Aug 16, 2019 @ 6:16 pm
I like to start, carry on and finish. If I start something, I want to finish it.
Aug 18, 2019 @ 2:05 pm
I am definitely a starter. When I do finish a project, I celebrate. Thanks for this analysis. I need it.
Aug 18, 2019 @ 9:39 pm
I think I’m a little of all three. Not sure which one I am most likely. I guess I need help to figure it out. I am one of those people who likes to have a place for everything and everything in its place . I like structure and routines and I believe without order there is chaos. At the same time though, I love art. I was a scrapbooker for years and now I create cards for everything for everyone as much as I can. I have always wanted to take your bible art journaling classes . I have always believed it would help me grow spiritually. My life circumstances just haven’t allowed me the time. Hopefully and prayerfully, it will be different this time.
Aug 21, 2019 @ 1:13 pm
I am definitely a starter! I have always struggled with following through.
Aug 24, 2019 @ 6:24 am
I am a STARTER, in the beginning, say a dream process to begin that journey with high expectations which is my strongest of the three. Then as a CARRIER, I tend to be an organizer of thoughts motivated by God’s direction in the pursuit of the dream. Then as a FINISHER, I see the dream coming to completion or in my recent assignment from God, He gave me understanding that it was a season and HE had more things for me to do. So, I hear God’s voice to close that season and move on up a little higher in the PURPOSE of HIS calling. For in each season whatever the process I draw closer to HIM and mature just a bit more for I know in my 73rd year of life that time is short and following HIM is much more important than getting caught up or distracted from HIS DESTINY and the path He has me on NOW, I trust HIS leading explicitly.
Aug 28, 2019 @ 12:51 am
Thanks for this thoughtful discussion Rebekah. I too am a starter. My husband is a finisher and we meet in the middle as carriers of the vision. We make a good team! Maturity does have me growing in finishing!
Oct 31, 2019 @ 3:48 pm
Thank you for a really useful article.
Its been very helpful to me. I retired about 3 years ago and have been reflecting on my working life particularly the latter half when I was involved in a number of projects: sometimes as a carrier, sometimes as a starter.
I wish I had read this then, because I think it would have helped me to recognise when it was time to let go and let somebody else pick up the baton. It could probably be argued that i was a finisher too because the projects were successfully implemented and achieved their objectives – but I have been left pondering if I fought battles I didn’t really need to fight, which also led to maybe acting out of character.