Making Imperfect Progress

Maintaining change is hard. It’s hard because in most cases, the only thing that’s changed about your life is you. In the moment that you make up your mind, in that moment that you finally decide to commit to different, everything else will remain the same – your job, your friend groups, your hobbies, your home town – it’s all the same.

Some people make snap environmental changes that force their lives to become drastically different, but for the vast majority of us, the change will be incremental and strategic, but still messy and to some degree, painful.

I have made a lot of changes in the past few months, both inside and outside. Unfortunately, I am always painfully aware that no matter how much progress I make as a person, I will always have a long, long way to go.

My perspective is like a scale with positive self-affirmation and healthy future goals on one side, and pure self-disgust and unmet expectations on the other. Unlike most scales where the goal is equilibrium, this scale only works when it’s tipped in the positive direction. When I spend as much time downing myself as I do affirming myself, when the scale stands still, I get stuck.

Stuck is where I’ve been for the past couple of weeks.

I’ve been in a place where I can only see how much I’m not doing. I’ve been ripping myself to shreds for all the items on my to-do list that are not crossed off. I’ve been winding myself up, but instead of running myself rugged trying to do more, I’ve been frozen. I will attempt to explain this bizarre character trait I have that I am desperately attempting to change.

When I choose to meditate on my perceived lack, I get overwhelmed by my own inadequacy. As much as I try to dress it up, it’s really a defeatist mentality. I stand still and waste my own time because I get stuck in ‘What’s the point?’ land.

This is where I’ve been in January – in ‘What’s the point?’ land.

I’ve been sleeping my days away and refusing to answer the Holy Spirit when He tells me to get up and get going. I’ve been feeling sorry for myself. I’ve been magnifying my flaws instead of my strengths. And I’ve been accepting defeat before my feet even hit the floor each morning.

I still struggle with being a perfectionist, and still, the idea of doing something I know I won’t be great at immediately often stops me from even attempting it. But standing still is not helping me get better at anything. Being intimidated by how much work I still need to do instead of completing the assignment in front of me is not helping me be better. It reminds me of my college days when I would have so much work to do that I just gave up and took a nap instead.

Just like all attitudes, this one began in my mind. When my thoughts are toxic, my life starts to stink. Suddenly, I feel bombarded by negativity and sadness, everything starts slipping, my relationships and adult responsibilities start to fall through the cracks, I stop taking care of myself, I constantly give in to self-sabotaging behavior and allow myself to be distracted by things that should be helping me (like YouTube, social media, the Internet, music, books). Life keeps proving to me that I cannot live a life that is above the quality of my thoughts.

To be honest with you, I have not been able to figure out what my problem was until I started writing. I just felt unmotivated, constantly tired, and inexplicably sad. I haven’t been able to write anything for the past couple of weeks, and like I’ve expressed before, Yahweh will often take my words away until I am ready to be honest with myself, and with Him. I am serious when I say that this blog is healing and impacting me even more than it has been healing and impacting my beautiful readers. It’s amazing and humbling to me that Yahweh ministers and speaks to my heart through me.

Even as I write, I can feel the scale tipping in the positive direction; I can feel the figurative pep returning to my step. It’s like a weight is lifted.

I feel led to state that I’m really annoyed with my penchant for fixating on my imperfections. I seem to be inherently negative, but trust me, I will not allow this flaw to hold me back. My life may be an ebb and flow, and I will have to make adjustments daily in order to remain aligned and do what Yahweh has called me to do, but I have to keep moving forward.

Imperfect progress is still progress. And to be honest, most of the progress me make in life will be imperfect, because we are all imperfect people. We will always be in a war with our most debased selves and our best selves. It’s not a sin or a crime to struggle, but the important thing to keep a firm grasp on is your perspective.

While the scale remained stagnant in my life for a month, I still have glimmers and shreds of positivity and light. That means I never truly lost the right view of things, I just had to move the trash aside that was blocking the whole view. You won’t be perfect, but when you fail or fall you have to find a way to learn and not stay stuck. We have the choice to wallow in our lack of perfection, or keep it moving while we learn from our flaws.

So tonight, I’m deciding to focus on my strengths, acknowledge my weaknesses, learn from them, and keep it moving. Beating yourself up, being self-deprecating, giving in to comparison and negativity is not a way to live the life Yahweh intends.

Maybe you’re struggling against imperfection and self-disappointment, or maybe you’re too busy focusing on where you wished you were instead of working where you are right now. I’ve been there, in fact I’m literally one step away from there. Let me lovingly and compassionately tell you that it’s time to move.

It’s time. It’s time to decide to work on your flaws instead of cowering in fear of their intimidating holds on your life. It’s time to reclaim the parts of your mind that darkness and negativity has stolen. It’s time to slay the giants that have been blocking your hustle and shine. It’s time to get to work on your purpose. History is full of people who accomplished magnificent, ridiculously crazy, wonderful things. NONE of them were perfect, not one. We’re in good company.

Get up and get going. I’m right there with you.

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