I’ve recognized a pattern in myself where I either do someone with 100% consistency or not at all. It’s why I’ve struggled so hard keeping a consistent exercise regimen, keeping a journal for an extended amount of time, writing weekly on any blog, or really doing anything with perseverance. In our society today, we’ve coined this characteristic an “all or nothing” kind of person. When I began to get to know Jesus a little better, I realized that he’s not an “all or nothing” kind of person—he’s the middle ground between the extremes. It began appearing in my everyday life, like all things God teaches. I started to see it in my theology, relationships, eating habits, workout habits, everything. I carried an “all or nothing” attitude into everything because if “it wasn’t all of me, I obviously didn’t care about it.” I wonder where I picked up that lie.
I read this quote from unknown origin recently: “Giving up on your goal because of one setback is like slashing your other three tires because you got a flat.” It seems so silly, but I’ve been doing that my entire life for the most part. When I begin new projects, I start with such excitement and good intentions that I tell myself, “Surely I won’t give up on this.” Then when the one day comes that I didn’t have time or forgot about it, I drop it entirely.
“I obviously didn’t care about it,” the voice in my head whispers. Sometimes I’ll argue, “I do care! I really enjoyed that! It was good.” But the shame in my failure weighs heavy, and I chose to stare at my phone instead.
This unhealthy pattern took away my prayer life, reading the bible, writing a thankfulness journal before bed, reading a book (any book), friendships, cooking, healthy habits, more opportunities than I can count, and countless others. A simple lie stole these things from me.
“The thief comes only to kill, steal, and destroy… (John 10:10a)”
I allowed him to steal from me, thus destroying my potential. Today that stops. And I can’t stop it entirely because this will take practice, and I will fail. I will forget that I can continue writing even if it has been weeks since I’ve written a blog. I will forget that I’m not a failure for not praying in days, and that God always wants to hear from me regardless of my consistency. I can still wake up at 5am and workout, even if I’ve missed the past three times. Today I’m choosing to realize that the rest of my tires don’t need slashing—I just need to roll up my sleeves, admit my setback, and keep going anyway. Because there’s a second part to that verse where Jesus says:
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. (John 10:10)”
I choose to find God in the middle of my giving up and my 100% perfection, because between apathy and the law I find grace. Enough grace for all my failures, and all who fail me because God never intended to give me a sufficient amount of grace; he gave me an ABUNDANT amount, which by definition means I have “more than enough” to share!
Today I chose to allow God’s extension of grace in my life to overpower the noise of the thief, not just for my own sake, but for all I encounter too. I will never learn how to extend grace to you if I don’t first learn how to receive it. Grace for me means grace for you. Allow yourself to fail sometimes; get back up. We’re not dead yet.