Your Greatest Gain
It seemed like a major setback.
My roommates and I had been living in a nice house with a backyard and a two-car garage. It was the biggest (and most expensive) house I had ever lived in. However, our lease was ending and with major life transitions on the horizon, my roommates and I decided it was probably time to move on from our extravagant abode. So, after much purging of all my possessions, I stuffed what I had left into my Mitsubishi and drove across town. I ended up moving back into the exact room I lived in when I first moved to Napa eight years ago.
While I was truly grateful for a place to live, I must admit that it just seemed like a step backwards in my life. Ever been there? When God brings you back to the same place that you started even though you feel like you should be long past that stage of life?
As I stood in that old familiar room with boxes stacked all around, I began to feel like my life was suddenly very small. So, I decided to go out for some fresh air. Just a few hundred yards away from the front door is a small park with a playground and half-mile loop that I had walked many times eight years prior.
My first time around the loop brought thoughts like: Why am I back here? Did I do something wrong? Have I failed? While my feet followed the circle a second time, disappointment set in as a I began to think about the previous season and all my unmet expectations. I wanted to be farther along in my life and career. I wanted more meaningful relationships. On the third loop, I began to invite God into the conversation and express my grief to Him. He was a kind listener.
The fourth and fifth time around the track brought some much needed reflection as I began to think about where I was eight years ago emotionally, relationally, spiritually, and even physically. By the sixth loop, something remarkable happened, I felt how much I had grown from eight years ago. I remembered all that God had delivered me from, the relationships He had blessed me with, the financial miracles He orchestrated, and all the ways I had advanced in both career and calling.
On my seventh circle, I said to the Lord: “I remember how hard it was for me to walk just one of those loops eight years ago. It’s only my first time out this time around and I’ve been walking for miles.” And that’s when the Lord whispered, “Jen, your greatest gain then is your starting point now”.
Eight years ago, I had to work for months to get the grit and the stamina to walk the literal physical path I had just walked. This time around I hit it first try and with no struggle. This new beginning wasn’t where I wanted to be, but I was moving with strength and with ease. The version of myself eight years ago would have been shocked! When I feel disappointed about my pace or my progress in life, I remember that I have already come so far in my life – only by God’s grace and His power.
When we are discouraged, we certainly need to acknowledge how we feel. But we also need to remember where we have been and how far we have come
“Your greatest gain then is your starting point now.”
This phrase reminds me that we aren’t on the journey of perfectionism but progress. And perfectionism is the enemy of progress. Even though I felt so far behind in life, I had made so much progress and I needed to go to an old familiar place to feel that.
It’s not about the pace. It’s about making meaningful progress. It’s not about perfection. It’s about enjoying the process. So, today I’m choosing to focus on my progress and enjoy this process as best as I can.
How about you?
Your comment will be posted after it is approved.
Leave a Reply.
Jen is a pastor, podcaster, worship leader, writer, and songwriter living in Napa, California.