- Melinda K. Bowens
But It's Not Perfect
#BreakingTheCycle: But It Wasn’t Perfect
Well, we’re on the “emotions” part of this series and we’ve done a hefty amount of soul searching; especially with our not so great feelings. So, you may have saw the title for today’s posting and thought this was another dive into how the people in our lives weren’t perfect and how they may have hurt us. Just a heads up, it’s not that kind of posting today. Is it true that we’ve had people in our lives treat us less than stellar and downright crappy? Yep, you better know it! And is it true that topic may come up again later in this blog? You betcha! But today we’re not reflecting on how others play (and have played) into our feelings; we’re looking at ourselves. *holds up mirror*
Have you even gotten to that point where you just decided you wanted to be a “better” version of yourself? Maybe you weren’t even sure what that meant or what it looked like for you, but you knew you wanted better. Something felt off on the inside and you knew your path needed to be different.
Now, I’m pretty certain we’ve had that same conversation with ourselves at least three time…this year…and it’s only March. But each time we sincerely meant it. And each time we wanted to be a little (or a lot) better than before. But the discouraging part was not in the trying. The discouraging part came when we thought we were on a good roll with our progress and we somehow messed it up. Not like the times we somehow sabotaged ourselves (that’s the next phase in this series). I mean the times that we gave our absolute best and for a moment, hour or day, our best just didn’t seem to get the job done.
Here’s my story from this week (I know there are several, but I’m picking this one because I can at least see a little humor in it now).
Earlier this week, I was getting prepared to start a lecture for one of the courses I teach. A student raises her hand to ask me a question that I had answered no more than 37 seconds prior and the answer was in her syllabus. Internally I was annoyed because it is a pet peeve of mine when I think people don’t at least try to solve things themselves first. Leading us to the following conversation:
Her: When is *insert assignment* due?
Me: Hey there! It’s in your syllabus.
Her: Now Ms. Bowens, you know we don’t read that
Me: *in full irritation voice* Well, that’s not my problem
That’s not my problem. I heard those words leave my mouth and was immediately disappointed with myself and it showed for the rest of the class period. Was I disappointed because my answer was wrong? Nope, not at all (because her answer sucked, let’s be serious). But I was disappointed because I knew my answer came from a place of annoyance and certainly not a place of love (1 Corinthian 16:14). And then started the self-criticism. Really, Melinda?! Like you didn’t just publish an entire devotional about being closer to God.
Now, you may have read that and thought it was a little over the top for such a small event. But honestly, this is how many of us react in our minds quite often. We become dedicated to a better journey, better focus and better overall emotional wellbeing; then become greatly disappointed when we don’t “do” it perfect from the very beginning. That thought is a little unreasonable, don’t you think?
Part of the reason we become dejected about our progress is because our confidence is in the wrong place. We are looking at our will power and current progress to keep us motivated; even though both can be fickle. When God gave us a much better promise:
“…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6, NIV
So, if the God who spoke life to the entire universe said we’re under construction until He says otherwise, how exactly do we think we’re going to be “perfect” next month in our own expedited plan?
Chat with God
When do you find yourself being most critical of your progress?
Why is difficult to believe Philippians 1:6 for yourself?
What is your one sentence prayer in this situation?
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