Progress is a Process & Perfection is its Enemy

New Website ~ Check It Out!

New Website ~ Check It Out!

Progress. It had to be done. I knew it was inconvenient for people to go to my website for some of my information and then to my blog to stay connected as we travel this journey of faith together. But the thought of merging my speaker website and my blog seemed so daunting, so overwhelming. I had expectations about how it would look and the bells and whistles that would abound. I wanted it to be perfect, but perfection often stands in the way of progress. So a good coach helped me scale back my expectations of perfection in favor of progress (with plans for more progress in the future, of course!) and I have made the merge.  All the posts from this blog have been migrated to www.CurlyGirl4God.com and this will be my last post here…but certainly not my last post!

I am so blessed to walk through this life with those of you who follow my blog. I appreciate knowing that you are out there, joining in my conversation, even though we may never actually converse. I feel your presence like the best listening friends one could ever hope for. I am trying my best to figure out how to transfer your subscriptions to my site so we can continue our journey; but that, too, is a process. Until then, I hope you will jump over to the new site, take a look around, and re-subscribe.

It isn’t easy to settle for progress when we are seeking perfection. Progress, by definition, takes time, and frankly, I want it all and I want it now ~ just like Veruca Salt from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  I feel the same way about my Christian life. I want only pure thoughts, a clean heart, to be a true reflection of Jesus ~ I want it all and I want it now. But I am not there yet ~ just ask my husband. Still, I believe I am making progress.

But it is a process, a process that Christians call sanctification. It is done by God’s grace through the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives; and we can either work with Him or against Him in this.  It is a process of making us holy and set apart and it lasts a lifetime. Even though we are told by Jesus to be perfect, as our Father in heaven is perfect, we are also told that this will never happen while we are in this earthly body because all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. It is Jesus who is perfect for us ~ in Him is our perfection. Until we shed this earthly temple for our heavenly one, well, we will continue to be a work in progress. Have you thanked the Holy Spirit lately for all the hard work He does to sanctify you? Me neither! Let’s do it now!

“But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6:11

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Process or Product?

What’s your focus? Process or Outcome?

Outcomes. “Lynne, I think you need to focus more on the process.  Let each stepping stone be revealed as you are ready to take the next step.” That was a paraphrase of the wise advice given to me by a writer’s mentor and editor at a recent conference I attended. It sounded so good. So wise. So doable. After all, for one year “process” was my favorite word.  Everything was about process.  Life is a process. Navigating this challenge is a process. Losing weight is a process.   In my conversation with you, there was bound to be a process or two woven in.  And yet, I still find myself focusing on outcome in the midst of the process.  Is it a bad thing to be product oriented as opposed to process focused?

In some areas of life, I don’t think it’s a bad thing to focus on outcome.  Take, for example, doing the taxes.   There is nothing enjoyable to me about the process of getting our records together for our accountant.  Nothing. Enjoyable. At. All. In fact, I will postpone the inevitable for as long as possible.  So focusing on the outcome, a possible negative outcome that may include garnished bank accounts and hefty penalties helps me get the job done.

My daughter recently got married. Preparing for a wedding is no easy task, especially when you are a detail-oriented person.  It is a process that is long and sometimes joyful and often stressful; but I believe this is a time to embrace the process along with the outcome.  The wedding planning process can be an opportunity to make more memories that add to the wedding story itself – to the outcome that is so fleeting in comparison to all the planning that comes before the big day.

I am trying to apply this advice of appreciating the process and not focusing on the outcome to my writing, but I am finding that I need to enjoy and focus on both process and product at the same time, like two chords in a musical strain.  For me, I need to know that I am working towards something tangible, complete and hopefully meaningful to someone somewhere. I want to know that the chords of words I am stringing together will ultimately make a song. All the while, I want to be able to enjoy the tempo of keys being stroked, whether the cursor is moving forward or backward, and ideas taking shape and stalling out and taking shape again. I really want to enjoy the movements, the solos, and the accompaniments along the way; but I also want to relish in the finale, applaud the finished product and cheer for an ovation.

And so it is with my Christian life.  One day I will stand before the Lord, my life a final product, and He will look at the outcome. On my own I would come before Him in filthy rags. Nothing I have done or will do on my own will make me good enough to stand before a Holy and Perfect Creator. But because of Jesus, I can stand before God in white robes of righteousness. Still, I want to make the most of this process called life in the tiniest of hopes that I will hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”  I need to embrace the process of refinement that God so graciously and lovingly applies to my life so that my outcome, my life, will serve as a living sacrifice to the one who gave all for me…and for you.  Perhaps the better choice is to be both process and outcome focused: two parts, two chords, one beautiful song.

 “…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