I'm starting to realize that I tend to be much too hard on myself. I don't give myself enough grace. I expect too much, too fast. I expect change to happen instantaneously, for myself to grow up already, faster than I should be expected to.
I injured my back a couple of months ago, just lifting Anne up without properly bracing my abs. I have since spent a lot of time in my chiropractor's office, and lately we're down to strengthening and stretching in the hopes that I can prevent similar injuries in the future. One day when I walked in, he asked me how the exercises were going and I sighed in exasperation and said I wasn't noticing much difference at all. He watched me go through the exercises, and said, "You are already much stronger than you were a couple of weeks ago. You're being too hard on yourself." He explained what I should have already known: that muscles don't get stronger overnight. That it takes consistent, focused effort over a longer period of time to really see change.
This is true not just of muscles, but of souls, I think. I'm exhausted of feeling like a failure, and I think that my mission this Lent should be to forgive myself for not being perfect. God is slowly chipping away at my stony heart, replacing it with one of flesh and blood. This is not an instantaneous transformation, but the work of a lifetime.
You see, my perfectionism is keeping me from even making attempts. I'm so afraid that I'll try something and fail that I stay stuck in my old patterns. I'm like a hermit crab who's trying to live in an old, small shell for too long. Sure it's cramped, and I'm starting to lose feeling in my toes, but what if I get hurt trying to move to the next thing?
What if I get hurt?
God has not called me to a comfortable life. He has not created me for the status quo. God desires from me no less than full commitment, courage, daring, and a life fully lived. Fear be damned.
I think what this all comes down to is a deep, nagging fear that even if I do my best, I might still not be enough. It's easier, when I feel inadequate, to at least know that I'm not giving it 100%. But here's the truth: I will never be enough, and I am still called to give everything. Because He who promised is faithful (Hebrews 10:23).
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)