I saw one of those cute motivational quotes on Pinterest recently that read – “Saying, ‘Oh, I’ve already ruined my good eating today: I’ll just eat crap,’ is like saying, ‘Oh, I dropped my phone on the floor; I’ll just smash it ‘til it breaks.’”
I do this so often. I start the day with a healthy breakfast, have a decent lunch at work, and commuting home at dinner time, hungry and tired, I give in to a treat. Then, because today is obviously shot, I make less than stellar choices for the rest of the day, or indulge in a snack I could have done without. My life motto seems to be, “I’ll start again tomorrow,” or worse, “I’ll start again on Monday.”
I know I’m not the only one. We make “perfect” the enemy of “good.” We strive for perfection, and because we can’t achieve that standard (at least not for long) we give up completely. We fall behind in a Bible study and decide to quit until the next session starts. We can’t get the house as clean as we’d like, so we turn on Netflix and decide to try again tomorrow. We sabotage ourselves and dig the hole deeper and deeper because we didn’t instantly achieve perfection.
If you identify with this pattern, don’t lose heart. Look at what the Bible has to say about self-improvement:
Philippians 3:12-14: “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 1:6: “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
James 1:4: “Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Your salvation is a gift from God, paid for by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. You don’t have to fight for that. But the other battles in life? Those are a process. Maturing and developing new habits takes time. We have to learn to say, “Today wasn’t perfect, but it was good.” As we grow from one good day to another, we stop digging the hole deeper and deeper and instead start to see progress in our lives. We can do this.