Maneuvering through Mess

Making Imperfect ProgressI cannot compete.

I have been reading a devotion called “No More Unglued Mama Mornings” by Lysa TerKeurst, and I started another called “No More Perfect Moms” by Jill Savage.*  Both delivered the same painful blow.  Stop competing!

I am frustrated because I want well-behaved children and a house that is not almost clean…and beds that are made, countertops washed…an amazing social life, a balanced budget, a blog and social media that blow people away and make me a little extra on the side.  I am stressing myself!  I am stressing my children!

Stop.  Just stop!

I visited the Word for a word, and God had plenty to say while I sat and took it in…all of it…every sentence…syllable by syllable.

I exhaled a sigh of relief as I realized I was not crazy because life definitely convinced me that I was insane.  Then, I did exactly what TerKeurst recommended.  I set an alarm for the next seven days that says, “Make Imperfect Progress.”

Imperfect progress – the thought had never occurred to me.  To me, progress meant perfection.  Imperfection and progress stood as mutually exclusive terms.  What a novel idea!…Imperfect progress.

At that moment, I began to treat myself the way I treat my students.  I asked what I thought imperfect progress may look like, and I excitedly documented my responses.

1.  Imperfect progress is one better moment at a time.

It is one time you kept your voice calm when you wanted to throw a temper tantrum. One calm response when your insides told you to explode.  One healthy snack.  One month where you watch every penny.  One time when you drive past the McDonalds to prepare the groceries already purchased for tonight’s dinner.  One half folded, half put away load of laundry.  One clean countertop.  One workout.  That is imperfect progress.

2.  Imperfect progress is consistency even in the face of what looks like failure.

“They tried to bury us.  They didn’t know we were seeds.” ~ Dinos Christianopolous

You will not always see the why.  You will feel, at times, like you work overtime for no reward and no extra pay.  The children will meet your calm voice with ignored demands…as though you programmed them to obey and move only when your voice’s decibel level increases.  You will think about how many times you have had the same conversations with yourself, made the same resolutions, taken the same beginning steps.  You will wonder if you are reaching anyone, if you are accomplishing anything you set out to achieve.  You will feel lost ALL THE TIME because you need confirmation ALL THE TIME but confirmation is not progress.  Getting up time and time again, revamping and recommitting…listening to the still, small voice that now sounds like shouting.  That is imperfect progress.

Moving ahead when you want to throw in the towel, when all you can see it the mass abyss of everything that can go wrong, all the success that may never happen…that is imperfect progress.

***

Small child conquering his fears and climbing rockwall.

Imperfect progress is you just as you are.  It is me just as I am.  It is looking at the odds that say you can never do it.  It is looking at all the people you feel already are.  It is ignoring BOTH!

Life is not a competition.  Other people are not doing what God wants you to do.  They are not there to remind you of all your imperfections.  Only you can do what God calls you to do.  You, just as you are.

God needs your imperfection.
God needs my imperfection.
Only imperfection can lead imperfection.
People learn more from your imperfection than they can ever learn from your perfection….Imperfection drives progress…Imperfection is progress.

Your imperfection is beautiful.  Your ordinary is beautiful…My imperfection is beautiful.  My ordinary is beautiful.

We are all just trying to make it.  We are all trying to make progress in imperfection – make extraordinary out of ordinary.

And God looks at all of our imperfections…all of our ordinary and smiles…and whispers in volumes that “sound like shouting.”

“It is good.”

***

*I have received no compensation from the above mentioned authors.  All views expressed are my own and do not represent the values or opinions of the referenced entities or businesses.

What are some ways you maneuver through mess?  What do you think imperfect progress looks like?

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Linked at Inspire Me Monday and Salt & Light

11 thoughts on “Maneuvering through Mess

  1. Imperfect progress. I like that. I enjoy the irony. Progress should be perfect because you are moving toward a goal or an idea. Sometimes it isn’t because things don’t go the way they should. Food for thought, Brittany. Always a pleasure to read your blog.

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    1. Excellent food for thought. So, if I understand what you are saying, progress is perfect simply because one is moving in the direction of a specific goal? Otherwise, any steps outside of that direction are not progress? I can accept that perspective. For me personally, I always feel like all those other steps not in the right direction make me feel as though I’m not making progress. I’ve just got to adjust my thoughts concerning the overall picture of what the journey will look like…

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  2. To me progress just means a successful step or 2 or 3 in the right direction. When our babies take their first steps toward walking, we rejoice and applaud and post pictures on Facebook. Our babies are making progress. They are progressing toward a goal. And why should not our Heavenly Father also rejoice when we make wobbly steps toward walking with Him, toward walking righteously? We are too hard on ourselves. May we hitherto make progress toward seeing things from his point of view. You’re doing great, Brittany! Keep up the good work! And Happy Mother’s Day! 😀💖

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  3. I’ve had days of such overwhelm that each deliberate deep breath feels like a step forward in thick mud. Those days my little step feels so insignificant in the face of what “needs to get done” and the energy I think is required. On those days I pull out all the stops to keep me moving like light some incense, put good music, drink something delightful, make a micro steps list, cross off as I go along, reward myself. I’ve even caught myself taking to myself in my Spanish sing song baby voice that I only use on infant and toddlers saying ” vente mi amor, ya mero ” = ” come on love, almost there”😆. Whatever works, I say! Thank you again Brittany for offering your vulnerable heart… pure soul food🙏

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  4. Ah yes Brittany. Imperfect progress is such a profound statement. I’ve heard it put that if you are not moving forward, then you are moving backwards. Progress is progress. The Lord has made each of us imperfectly perfect so that His strength will be revealed in our weakness. What a blessing it is to be His! Thank you for sharing at Salt & Light!

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