Delayed Arrival

I recently posted this on Twitter: “Last night [my two-year-old] successfully wore undies to bed! WE ARE DIAPER FREE!!!!!!!”

Guess what’s happened since then? We’ve gone back to night diapers and had a day time accident nearly every day.

I recently wrote Change is Possible — a post about feeling like I had accomplished so much by not quitting my running plan, even though it got tough. I got up extra early to run at a time when I had plenty of excuses to not follow through.

And you know what? No, I didn’t quit. But, I did realize that I had not arrived. Just because I had a sense of accomplishment didn’t mean that I was finished. There is still work to do. There are still days to run before I “complete” the running program. I still have to set my alarm, put on my shoes (and extra layers, a hat and gloves — brrrr it’s cold in the morning), and go run.

I am always a work in progress. I will never arrive. And just when I think I have, someone is going to pee in their pants.

“… being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6

There is comfort in that verse. God is working, and will continue to work, until we are finished.

But sometimes I find that verse discouraging. Sometimes I just want to arrive. I want to be complete. I embrace the “Learning. Growing. Becoming.” catch-phrase at the top of my blog, but sometimes I want it to say “Learned. Grown. Became.” It sounds grammatically awkward, and it’s also not humanly possible.

I understand that I am a work in progress — and so are you — but I easily get frustrated with what I haven’t learned. I recognize I’m learning some valuable life lesson, and I wonder why I’m just learning it now? Why did I not “get it” at some earlier time? How is it that it’s taken me 30 some years to see some issue so basic to my own personality? Why have I never understood some issue so basic to maintaining a good relationship? Why have I not grasped a concept so basic to the nature of God?

It is easy to get stuck looking at what I don’t know, don’t do or don’t understand. This is something I find myself doing often. (One of those personality things I’m just realizing about  myself.)

I actually started writing this post a few weeks ago, but then I got stuck with feeling so “un-arrived” that I wasn’t sure where to go with it. In the last few weeks, potty training has improved and I finished my running plan. (Woo hoo!) I feel confident in saying that my daughter is potty trained and in saying that I have learned to run. The truth is, there really hasn’t been an “arrival” in either of those areas. We do still have an occasional potty accident, and I still need to exercise on a regular basis and sign up to actually run in a race. (My Facebook status the other day: Woo hoo! I finished Couch to 5K! Now to keep from heading back to the couch …)

The only thing that has changed is my perspective. I’m not trying to “arrive,” I’m just thankful that I’ve moved from where I was. I’m not changing diapers and I’m not being a couch potato. Sure, I’m still going to clean up some accidents, and yes, I still have some (a lot) of work to do before I reach my fitness goals, but I have to stop and look at how far I have already come.

This is a key principle that I’m seeing as I read thru the Bible. In the Old Testament, the Israelites built altars or stone monuments in a place where God had shown up and saved them or provided for them. They put up the stones to help tell others that this was a place where they saw God, but it was also a way to remind themselves of how God had worked. In the New Testament, people often quote scripture or tell stories of Abraham, Moses and others. Those stories of God’s provision are central to their faith and current situations.

I must learn to do the same!  I have to look at the things I have already learned, many things that have become so much a part of my life that I rarely even notice them. I have to remember what God has already revealed to me and how much He has already worked in my life.

Yes, I can see how some life lessons would have been better learned years ago, but I also have confidence that ” … He who began a good work in me will carry it on to completion.” I have many more lessons to learn. My arrival is delayed indefinitely. And that is OK.

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