The definition of progress is the forward or onward movement toward a destination. Does that mean that any progress we make will be without setbacks or lessons learned? Absolutely not. We can’t always control what life will throw at us, but we can control how we react to it. Often when things go wrong (as they sometimes will) it’s innate to consume yourself with what if or what now scenarios. Give yourself the permission to soak in all of that for a short period of time. In my experience it’s in that reflecting process where there is a lot of growth and my favorite – those ah-hah moments.
Most recently I was in the middle of some remarkable progress with a scary decision I had made almost a year earlier: to homeschool! I was wrapping up the school year feeling all kinds of grateful for a successful year and having pushed through a harder transition than I had anticipated. I was excited for our Summer break. It would be my time to rest. Unfortunately, my dad was almost immediately diagnosed with terminal cancer and I’d spend most of my Summer back and forth from Pennsylvania to Florida. It depleted me of all my energy. It halted any and all progress I had made, and I was certainly not moving in any kind of onward destination. I was at a standstill. But I allowed myself to simmer in that place of heartache. I was vulnerable when I needed to be and strong when I had to be.
Somehow, I was able to shift my heart towards God. I don’t know if I knew it then simply because I was inundated with grief, but those closest to me used words or phrases: always smiling, friendly, joy and happy to describe me. In hindsight, now that a bit more time has passed, I can acknowledge that it must have been my assurance in God’s love for me that allowed me to showcase that positivism. I subconsciously knew it would all turn out okay.
Remember, that God has a plan for us – one to prosper us and not harm us (Jeremiah 29:11). God also placed people in my life who actively did what Romans 12:15 says: Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. When I felt better - they celebrated. When I was having an off day - they sympathized. And through all of that I know now that I was able to and continue to find that joy despite the setbacks and grief. Let's continue to find the joy in any and all kinds of progress: the good kind and the ones full of life lessons.