Progress Not Perfection

“Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭4:2‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Recently, I was at the doctor’s office and needed to fill out some paperwork. This particular form asked the dreaded marital status question: single, married, or divorced. “Why do they need to know?” I thought to myself. “Is it really anyone’s business but my own?” Reluctantly, I checked off the box marked divorced, and then paused to look back on this past year since my divorce was finalized. 

I took a minute to humbly reflect on all that had happened. We sold our home, and the divorce was official soon afterwards. In addition, my daughter and I moved not once, but twice. At that moment, I sensed the phrase “progress not perfection” from the Holy Spirit. I quickly realized that I needed to extend grace to myself. 

Progress not perfection means continued movement towards our goals, which often involve many small steps. Lara Casey states in her “Little by Little” blog post, “Whether we vocalize it or not, we often crave fast results and overnight success. But, what if we’re missing something? What if overnight and instant aren’t the most fruitful ways to grow things?”*

Casey notes that we see God tell the Israelites during their journey in the wilderness. “But I will not drive them out in a single year, because the land would become desolate and the wild animals too numerous for you. Little by little I will drive them out before you, until you have increased enough to take possession of the land.” (Exodus 23: 29-30 NIV)

Lara also points out in her post, “If God did it quickly, they wouldn’t be ready. Instead, He does it little by little so they will be prepared and readied over time!” What a powerful story for our lives. Little by little progress adds up, and in the waiting, we are ripened and made ready. 

As I am entering the dating world again at age 43, I am realizing the value and importance of first rediscovering myself. So, while I’m waiting, I have had to answer the question, “Who am I?” as well as identify what is important to me, and what areas I can grow in. This all came down to discovering who I am in Christ. 

In Christ, I am chosen, forgiven, loved, strong and worthy. I have learned how to love who He made me to be. Also, I am now discovering more about my calling and purpose and where God is leading me. Has this season been easy? Absolutely not! However, I know that God is preparing me and guiding me to seek fulfillment from Him alone. 

From my experiences, the bottom line is to be gracious, humble, gentle, and patient, even with yourself! The most wonderful things in our lives do take time and effort. We can start by taking one step forward. One step forward each day will over time add up. 


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