“You’re making progress”
My Coach said that to me yesterday while we were out on a run together. “You’re making progress,” he said. Except it didn’t feel that way. I didn’t really want to be running. It was cold and I didn’t have enough layers on. I wasn’t holding the pace I had hoped for. My mind was fairly distracted and I wasn’t very present while I was running. About the only thing I seemed to be accomplishing was moving forward.
So it didn’t feel much like progress. It felt like back tracking on most levels.
“You’re making progress,” he said over and over as we spent the 40 minutes together. Toward the end of the journey, he unpacked the depth of “progress” for me. See he was using the second definition of the word: “to advance or develop toward a more complete condition.” Progress isn’t perfection. It’s simply movement toward a more complete condition. Progress was happening, even while the run wasn’t perfect. I made progress as I started the run. I made progress that I didn’t stop the run when I was cold. I made progress that continued the run despite the distractions, poor form and slower pace. And maybe the time that I made the most progress was when I recognized that even negatives and imperfections of the run itself were still helping me to make progress.
Lent begins today. A 40-day run for Christians. And Jesus says the same words to us: “You’re making progress.” We hear in Scripture “return to the Lord your God, for God is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” Those words are spoken to every imperfect runner, who is actually still making progress. Those words are spoken to every imperfect Christian, who is actually still making progress. Attempting to advance or develop toward a more complete condition. Returning to God.
Lent is our run together. Lent is our time set our hearts and minds on making progress. On running with and toward the Lord of grace and mercy. It’s another starting line. It’s another imperfect journey with an imperfect runners that, no matter what happens, brings us toward a more complete condition.
Your Lent doesn’t have to be perfect. And yet it is still a gift. A chance. A start. An opportunity to be present. It is an invitation to return. As we move into it, open to all that will and can happen, no matter what the results, we will notice that we are indeed making progress.
Lord, here we go. Let’s make progress. Amen
Still in One Peace,
Reminder: St. Paul’s Daily Devotionals for Lent (written by Mary Wolf) can be found at stpaulseggertsville.org