Remember that song I wrote about a few weeks ago, that uplifting melody playing softly in the background of the chaos going on around us? I hope you’re still listening, leaning into its rhythm, and letting its lyrics soften your soul? The more I give place to that song in my heart, the more easily the lies and illusions that prey on my anxiety or fears dissolve into nothingness.
One of those lies I hear people often struggle with is, “I should be further along by now.”
The enemy has so many ways to accuse us, and he is most despicable when he uses our best hungers against us. Of course, we all want to be further along than we are. Don’t you wish that your motives were pure, that you always know how to respond in any situation, that your thoughts and actions were always laced with grace, and that you knew the answers to all the questions banging around your head? I know I do.
But none of that is more critical than being settled in his love and letting it have its work in you. Notice how that one little lie will immediately draw you out of that love and focus on your failures and struggles. To fall for it is to submit yourself to the law again and to feel the crushing defeat of your inability to perform to whosever expectations you hold for yourself.
His song invites us into the moment to celebrate the process of transformation he is working in each of us. Jesus had no expectations that you would be flawless today. You’re not. I’m not. Flawless is still out beyond the horizon somewhere, but that doesn’t mean you’re not perfectly in process. He already sees you as his beloved son or daughter, knowing who you are in him and what you will yet become in his love. He knows the weaknesses that still entangle you, the lies you can’t yet see through, and the choices that still draw you into the darkness. He loves you nonetheless. He looks at this day as another opportunity to walk with you into a bit more of the light of his freedom and glory.
This was always going to be a process because he delights in reshaping your heart and renewing your mind. That process unfolds best when we celebrate it, rather than give in to the frustration of battles not yet won, hopes not yet fulfilled, or brokenness not yet mended. He is already healing. He is already opening the eyes of your heart, and he is pouring his strength into you.
So your words, thoughts, and actions will not be perfect today. You’ll be weak at times, and have those awkward moments where you hunger for wisdom you don’t yet have and for justice you can’t see. But you can see him, and yourself perfectly in his process of winning you into his love and teaching you how to ride its currents through the circumstances you’re in.
“But can’t I mess up this process?” some ask. Of course. We all can and have. But Jesus is bigger than our mistakes, our delays, and even our stubbornness. If he isn’t stronger than those things, what hope have we? He understands our fits and starts, and each day is willing to begin afresh, drawing us ever more into his glory. As the saying goes, “The best time to plant an oak tree was twenty-five years ago; the next best time is to plant one today.”
Regardless of where you’ve gotten lost in days gone by, today you can quiet your heart, tune into his glorious melody, and let your life fall into its rhythms.
Rather than berating yourself for not being further along, rejoice in how far you’ve come. Instead of being frustrated with your weakness, put your hope in his strength at work in you. Instead of regretting where you’ve missed him, be grateful for what he has shown you and what he has transformed in you.
Relax in the process, and you’ll find yourself making better progress.