God does not call us to a life of perfection. Even Biblical greats weren’t perfect. He does desire us to have a willing heart. It’s about progress not perfection. When you notice yourself focusing on negativity and wanting to give up because you’ve fallen short of the goal, use the 4 tips below to course correct.
I remember being at my exercise facility early one morning. I had not particularly wanted to go exercise that day. It was cold, and I would have preferred to have stayed under my warm blanket and gotten a tad bit more sleep. When the alarm went off, I decided to brave the elements, however, because I knew there wouldn’t be time later in the day.
I had the facility all to myself – just the way I liked it. As I began doing my exercises, I was rewarded for my decision to get up, by the endorphins which started flowing through my brain, creating the sense of contentedness and well-being. The monitor was mirroring back to me my perfect repetitions and I was pleased. Until…
Midway through the work-out, my rate of perfect form dipped below 100% (which was not unusual, mind you, but so far, this particular morning, I had been hitting 100% and feeling quite positive).
When this happened, I immediately noticed a shift in my thinking.
I found myself focusing on the negative aspects of the situation:
- “How come I could never get a 100% accurate form work-out?”
- “Why did they have to blare that music so loud so early in the morning?”
- “I can’t see the monitor.”
Fortunately, I realized what was happening.
I did what I often advise my patients to do.
I took a couple of deep breaths, and I course-corrected.
I got a drink of water, stretched, moved the monitor to a more optimal position, and waited for the offensive song to finish. And while I waited, I course-corrected my thinking as well. I realized that I had taken a shift from being pleased with my performance to suddenly equating my less-than-perfect performance with defeat. We can get bogged down by such defeat if we aren’t careful. That was a lie that I was not going to believe.
The goal is progress, not perfection
God does not call us to a life of perfection. He desires us to have a willing heart. It’s not about perfection, it’s about progress. My routine that morning was not perfect. Yet getting out of bed and exercising was a whole lot more progress than I would have made if I had stayed under the covers and continued to hit the snooze button.
Even some of the “Biblical greats” like Paul, weren’t perfect: “I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward – to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.” (Philippians 3:12-14 Message)
4 tips for a course correction
When you are tempted to give up because you have tried and fallen short of the goal or the expectations of yourself or others, take a moment for a course correction.
- Take a deep breath
- Assess the situation
- Course-correct the situation and your thoughts and attitude about the situation
- Try again.
Remember, it’s not about perfection…it’s about progress.
What do you need to give yourself grace for today, and recognize you are making progress?
Resource to Break Anxiety’s Grip
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So true Michelle, it is progress we need to focus on, not perfection. I’m sure this will resonate with many. I believe I need to give myself grace when it comes to working through issues. When I struggle I need to remind myself I am still in process, not finished. Thank God we are works in progress, and He’s promised to bring us all the way through.
So true Anne! If we could reach perfection, we wouldn’t need God or His grace. And in accepting God’s grace, we can give grace to ourselves and others. I’m in the process with you!
Wise words, seeking perfection is a disappointing pursuit. Excellence? Maybe but even then I try to save that for pursuing God. Otherwise, my focus tends to shift TOO far and become unhealthy
Seeking perfection definitely lends itself to disappointment. But pursuing God, not THAT is a rewarding endeavor!! Keep Pursuing my friend!
Progress, NOT perfection. I need to remind myself of that often. Tough one coming from a perfectionist. Thing is… perfection is really not even possible.
realizing how true this is puts us in a position of submission to Him. We acknoweldedge HE is perfect not we. We need t keep our eyes ON HIM not on our own self. Yup the tough one for bboomers who rew up with one foot in the work world and the other perhaps even single. Praise HIm for His GRACE and second chance and mercies every morning.
It’s so easy to get focused on perfection or our lack of it. I’m so glad God knows us and is looking at the heart, especially our attitudes. It’s so important to remember that if we could somehow do things perfectly than the cross would not have been necessary.
Always progress, not perfection. It is amazing how most all of our battle is in our minds and how we need to control them and not let them control us. It’s a lifelong process.
These tips are good for me on any given day! Progress, not perfection, is my goal too.
I remind myself daily. Progress, not perfection. My natural inclination is to beat myself up for not achieving at the level I think I should by now. I’ve found this gentle reminder to help me course correct.