I recently started walking in the park every weekday morning. In the midst of getting my heart rate up and listening to music or a podcast, there’s this thought that hangs out in the cobwebby corners of my mind.
I thought I’d be further along than this.
Not further along on the track in the park but further along in life.
Like I thought I’d have written a book by now. Or I’d have learned to drive a car with a manual transmission or finally learned to play the guitar after picking it up and putting it back down year after year or at least started playing the piano again. Maybe I’d have finally started a YouTube channel or tried my hand at podcasting again. Maybe I’d have started my business or recorded the singing project I’ve dreamt of for the last decade and a half. Maybe I’d have been more physically fit and flexible with better eating and sleeping habits. Maybe I’d be more patient, thoughtful, and intentional in my actions. Or maybe, at the very least, I’d have read more books and been blogging more consistently by now.
I’ve done none of those things. And during my morning walks, or while washing dishes, shopping for groceries, doing laundry, or cooking dinner, I feel like I’m being graded on my progress and the report is less than satisfactory. You know what I mean? Like I’m swimming in the ocean of shoulda, coulda, woulda. Like I’m way under the speed limit and I need to pick it up. Like there’s this thing I’m reaching for but can never really grasp. Sometimes it’s my own fault and sometimes the right cards just aren’t mine to play.
I’m not sure how to work it all in my head. I know there are things I need to change in my life to see actual improvement in various areas. I also know that sometimes God simply sees fit not to open certain doors. Some of those doors I know for a fact I’m not ready to walk through. But others, well, He propped them open a long time ago and I’ve just not had the guts to take the first step. Cause I’m not all that gutsy by nature. Sometimes I like presents that are all wrapped up in pretty paper, full assembled and batteries included. Sometimes, can someone else do the groundwork first? Sometimes can I just not have to solve the problem before we get to the good stuff? Does everything have to be hard?
I look at the people who do the things I dream of doing and I have to keep telling myself that it wasn’t always this way for them. They put in the hours. They made the mistakes. They tried and failed. They had to experiment. They had to wonder. They had to plan. But they did the stuff—the hard work stuff that makes me tired just thinking about. They did it.
I thought I’d be married before I was 25. Missed it by almost 2 years. It was one of those doors God didn’t see fit to open on my time table cause I wouldn’t have been ready. And I’m grateful for that because now, I’m so grateful for my wonderful husband and the marriage we’re building. In a few years, I want to be able to look back and say we did the stuff—the hard stuff that makes me tired just thinking about.
The truth about life is that no one is grading the speed at which I progress. Not even God, hallelujah, thank You Jesus! He just wants me to progress. Sometimes He’ll hand me something that’s wrapped up all pretty and the batteries will be included. But most times, I’ll have to build it myself with the tools He gives me. Better habits, new skills sets, a joyful home, a successful career. All those things are built over time. I still wish I was further along, I still wish I could say I’ve accomplished more, been victorious over more, cut out more junk and curated more wisdom. But the truth about life is that simple progress counts for a lot and I should only be worried when I stop moving. Because I can’t ever stop moving.
So I put on my Nikes. I’m not jogging 2 miles straight like the girl in the cute shades, great legs and the perfectly messy ponytail. But I can keep moving. Even if it’s just walking at my own pace.
I’ll get there.