It’s difficult, maintaining progress. While it’s true the more you do something the easier it is to do, it is also true that resistance grows the more you do something. You have a goal or a vision and decide to see it through. That’s great and you’re making good progress. But what happens when you jump tracks and lose momentum? What happens when you find yourself regressing? You grow.
You know those jets in pools that circulate water back in after filtering? I loved playing with those when I was a kid. I’d try to see if I could get my hand to cover the hole or to get a finger as close to the exact middle as I could. The older I got and the more I played my little game, the easier it was to get close to where I wanted to be. Getting there was an entirely different matter. The water rushing against me was forceful in its resistance. Often I found myself being pushed back due to the force of the water. The more I focused on those last few inches, the easier it was for the jet to push me back into the water.
For me, right now, I feel like I’m being pushed back by the water jet. I have a few goals that have been perennial members of my yearly to do list—goals I’ve not been able to see happen. Each year I get closer and closer but pushed back further and further. Usually I just gather myself for another attempt and go.
But sometimes, like now, I feel like I’m truly going backwards. I could once pass as someone with normal social skills; now every interaction feels awkward. I thought I had built the framework for a dating relationship, only to see it fall apart piece by piece. Sometimes it feels like all that’s left to do is give up, get some brown burlap clothes, and find a nice hermit cave. You know the kind—the ones where the moss doesn’t fall off and you don’t find yourself with a grumpy bear as a roommate.
I’ve only ever seen two choices at this point: Give up or keep going. The funny thing is, as Christians, giving up is never a decision God asks us to make.
“…but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope…”
Romans 5:3-4 lays out our schema when we fail or when we regress. We glory in the suffering of failure and build perseverance, character, and hope.
Perseverance, character, and hope. Those 3 traits give us everything we need to see our purpose through to the end. And it all comes from glorifying God through our failures.
So, here we go.
Developing deep friendships remains important to me but it’s something I find nearly impossible. Glory to God through my inability.
I am prepared to go through another Valentine’s season avoiding questions about my plans for that evening. Glory to God in my singleness (and praise be to Him for giving me the Olympics as a distraction this year).
Glory to God in my strengths, glory to Him in my failures.
Persevere and glorify. That is our one choice.
Oh, by the way, 2 summers ago in the pool I totally touched that little piece of plastic that had avoided me so successfully. Took me twelve years, but I reached my goal.
If it took twelve years to complete a silly little game, maybe the truly important things can take that long, too.
Photo credit: Steve and Jody