The old folks used to say “I may not be where I want to be, but thank God I’m not where I used to be.” In this age of self-help obsession, many of us have bought tickets and packed our bags for the journey. Last stop….Perfection. We say “nobody’s perfect,” but secretly, people actually think they can arrive at “Perfection.”
Yes, I’m an author and life coach who certainly benefits from the multibillion dollar self-help market. I help my clients transform from who they are to who they want to be. But, I’m very clear with setting SMART goals and if you think you can fix everything that is wrong with you — well, that’s not smart. In fact, it’s the opposite of smart.
Philippians 2:13 reminds us that God is working in us and it is God that gives us the “desire and the power to do what pleases Him.” There are books, blogs, podcasts, videos and one-day seminars that promise to make us happier, improve our relationships, help us raise exceptional children, allow us to live our dreams and more. Most of these are helpful, but the truth is that you cannot out-hustle God. So, stop trying. Cut yourself some slack and trust the process. If you have said “yes” to God and your heart is open to his will for your life, then what He has for you to do will get done…at some point.
Cancel Your Ticket.
Make a list of three things you’d like to change about yourself. Now, choose one to change and then decide how to be okay with the other two. If can stop cussing, start exercising, stop procrastinating, start clean eating, harness the power of positive thoughts, and kick the coffee habit this year, I’m sure you’ll find another ten things to fix next year, and the year after that, and the year after that. Nobody’s perfect. True. But a deeper truth is that nobody can be perfect. So, find your lane and ride it out.
I’m not suggesting we just wallow in our pound cake and binge watch sex, drugs and violence. I’m suggesting that we take the scripture passage in Philippians to heart. God will give us the “desire and power.” Most of us fail to change our habits because we are on the “should” train to perfection instead of the “will” train to purpose. We keep trying to do things that God hasn’t truly given us a desire to do. That’s why we can’t get it done. Setting a goal because you “should” instead of focusing on what you “will” is why the train goes off the rails, spiraling you into an endless cycle of fixing life rather than living it.
Get off the Train!
Get off the train to perfection. Choose the thing that is most detrimental to achieving your goals and fix that. Then, learn to manage the rest. Do better….sure. But “better” is relative to where you were, not where you’re going. Breathe. Pray. Ask God to give you the “desire and power” to do what he wants you to do…and let the rest of it lean on His grace.