Imperfect Progress - Unglued Devotional
Practice these things;
immerse yourself in them,
so that all may see your progress.
(1 Timothy 4:15 ESV)
Thought for the Day:
Just because something is hard doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
What kept me from making changes with my raw emotions was the feeling I wouldn’t do it perfectly. I knew I’d still mess up and come unglued. Sometimes we girls think if we don’t make instant progress, then real change isn’t coming. But that’s not so. There is a beautiful reality called imperfect progress. The day I realized the glorious hope of this kind of imperfect change is the day I gave myself permission to believe I really could be different.
Imperfect changes are slow steps of progress wrapped in grace … imperfect progress. And good heavens, I need lots of that. So I dared to write this in my journal:
Progress. Just make progress. It’s okay to have setbacks and the need for do-overs. It’s okay to draw a line in the sand and start over again—and again. Just make sure you’re moving the line forward. Move forward. Take baby steps, but at least take steps that keep you from being stuck. Then change will come. And it will be good.
These honest words enabled me to begin rewriting my story. Not that I erased what came before, but I stopped rehashing it and turned the page afresh. Eventually, I started blogging about my raw emotions and imperfect changes. In response, I got comments whispering, “Me too.”
“Being unglued, for me, comes from a combination of anger and fear,” wrote Kathy. “I think part of it is learned behavior. This is how my father was.” Courtney honestly admitted, “I come unglued when I feel out of control because my kids are screaming or fighting or whining or negotiating and won’t listen. I like silence, calm, obedience, and control. When it’s not going ‘my way,’ I come unglued and freak out and it goes quiet. And then the regret comes.”
And the comments kept coming, all of them expressing the exact same struggle, the same frustration, and the same need for hope. Women with kids and women without kids. Women caring for aging parents and women struggling with being the aging parent. Women working in the home and outside the home. So many women whose daily circumstances differed but whose core issues were the same.
I realized then that maybe other women could make some imperfect progress too. And a book idea was born from that simple realization. But I had to laugh at the irony of it. I had just published a book called Made to Crave that dealt with what goes into my mouth. Now I was writing a book called Unglued to deal with what comes out of my mouth. Obviously my mouth gets me into lots of trouble!
This Unglued journey is about my imperfect progress. It’s an honest admission that this struggle of reining in how I react has been hard for me. But hard doesn’t mean impossible.
How hard something is often depends on your vantage point. For example, consider the shell of an egg. Looking at it from the outside, we know an eggshell is easily broken. But if you’re looking at that same shell from the inside, it seems an impenetrable fortress. It’s impossible for the raw white and tender yolk to penetrate the hardness of the eggshell. But given time and the proper incubation, the white and yolk develop into a new life that breaks through the shell and shakes itself free. And in the end, we can see that the hard work of cracking the shell was good for the new baby chick. The shell actually provided a place for new life to grow, and then enabled the chick to break forth in strength.
Might the same be true for our hard places? Might all this struggle with our raw emotions and unglued feelings have the exact same potential for new life and new strength?
I think so. I know so. I’ve seen so.
Mother Teresa is quoted as saying, “Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.” Make some small imperfect progress today and discover your potential for new life and new strength.
God, this process is revealing to me my greater need for You each day. Please help me to take steps toward making imperfect progress today. Amen.