Monday, July 29, 2013

Imperfect Progress

Some friends and I have been reading a book called Unglued by Lysa Terkeurst.   It is a book on how to deal with your emotions without coming unglued.  One of the first things, Lysa talks about in her book is the idea of imperfect progress.  In life, we often view things as all or nothing.  We either have it or we don't.  We are either successful or we are not.  We make one mistake and we have failed.   In regards to coming unglued especially with my classes at school, I can relate.  I am doing well, making progress, having a good week and bam, I mishandle an interaction with a student.  All of a sudden I am a failure and I can't do anything right.   I forget that I had made progress.  I was using better techniques.   I just need to pick myself back up and start again.  The devil wants us to stay discouraged.  He wants us to feel defeated.  When we are defeated and discouraged, it is hard for us to reflect our saviour and make progress.  Imperfect progress is where we see the progress we have made and use it to help us make more progress instead of letting setbacks defeat us.  

I have started to apply this principle of imperfect progress to not only how well I deal with my emotions but to other areas of my life.  Instead of getting all bummed out about how I have been drinking too much coke, I recognise that I have overall  been eating more fruits and vegetables.  I have made progress in eating healthy which also gives me motivation to drink less coke.  With my exercise routine, I realise some people wouldn't even consider my 20 minute workouts even a workout.  But then there is imperfect progress and at least I am exercising.  I just need to keep plugging away and adding to my workout as I am able.  Imperfect progress doesn't mean I am content over where I am.  It means I am where I am and with God's help am making progress towards a better me.  Transformation in character, thinking and health doesn't happen overnight.  God changes us (me) over time.

This week I had another lesson about imperfect progress.  I had been applying the principle of imperfect progress to myself and not to others around me.  Instead of choosing to see how Big D is doing a much better job of keeping his room clean, I noticed the dirty socks that need to be put in the dirty clothes. Yes I need to train him to pick up his dirty socks but it might be a good idea to mention how much better he is doing with his room first.  I am sure I could come up with other examples but I am sure you get the point.  If I am going to have grace for myself and my imperfect progress, I also need to have that same grace with others' imperfect progress.  So this week, I am trying to focus more on the positive progress my son is making and less on correction.  Yes, there will be times I need to encourage him to improve but even in that I need to extend more grace.

Dear God, Thank you that you are not finished with us yet.  Thank you for not giving up on us even when we get discouraged.  You are perfect and we so want to live up to who we are as your children.  Guide us on this journey that you have for us and may we glorify you in all things.  Amen

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