Yesterday morning I took a walk with my kids. Well actually they rode their bikes and I tried to keep up walking, but soon realized running was necessary to keep them all within sight. As I rounded the corner to our home, I realized I had just run a mile. Then, a wave of remembrance washed over me, as I thought back to May and June, when I could not walk a block without returning home to my bed for the rest of the day. A time when everyday activities were not easy. A time when my body was wrecked by the effects of Crohn’s Disease.
I tend to focus on the areas where I still need to heal. I focus on the fact that I do not have my “normal” level of energy. My attention is on my need for extra sleep. I get frustrated by the achiness I feel when I get tired. I wish I could eat a greater variety of foods. I dwell on the imperfection, instead of seeing and recognizing all the healing that has taken place. I now have energy, I can run a mile. I do get tired, but I am taking care of my family, volunteering at my kids schools, cooking, cleaning, and teaching 2 days a week. That is progress after not being able to get out of bed. I can eat food. I may have to watch my diet, but I no longer subsist on a liquid diet.
I believe it is our human nature to focus on our inadequacies and shortcomings rather than the progress we have made. Whether it be in our career, when we focus on what we have not achieved, rather than on where we have come from. In our relationships, when we focus on how far from perfection they are, rather than the growth that has taken place. Or, in our spiritual walk when we focus on where we struggle and fall short, rather than on the change the Holy Spirit has brought to our lives and the fruit that has developed.
I am in no way saying that aspirations and targets are not a good thing. Especially, in our walk with God the goal is to be conformed to Christ. Yet, sometimes we need to see where we have come from, so that we can be thankful for the progress. It puts the journey into perspective and brings about a heart of thanksgiving instead of unsatisfaction. Joy in place of bitterness. After all, it is all grace anyway! I think we can all agree we are thankful for that!