Click above to listen to First Love from my third album Draw Near as you read. If you enjoy, consider purchasing the song, album download, or CD from Amazon, iTunes, or stantonlanier.com (where sheet music is also available).
Is your mindset thankful for progress, or frustrated by a lack of perfection?
The tension in this question is real in my day-to-day life. If you are like me, maybe you have a “performance mentality” that wants to rear its ugly head. When this happens, I am tempted to start striving too hard, and my body language feels more like clinched fists and gritted teeth. I risk my mindset looking like something like this — strive to please others and do my best to perform for God, then maybe others will like me better and God will love me more. Going down this slippery slope leads to frustration that once again, perfection is out of reach.
This is why I wanted you to listen to First Love as you are reading this…
Several years ago a good friend spoke words into my life that began to stick. He said, “Focus on progress, not perfection.” As a “recovering perfectionist” this was huge for me. It was a mindset shift. Focusing on progress rather than perfection helps me be thankful instead of frustrated. Surrendering results and outcomes to God also increases my peace and rest.
About half of my Scripture inspired piano compositions are lyrical, meaning the piano is “singing” some words. First Love is one of these. Here is what the notes are singing: “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” (1 John 4:16 is the verse melody) and “We love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19 is the chorus melody). 1 John 4:10 offers a great summary: “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”
What a gift this is, to be able to receive grace and forgiveness rather than having to strive, please and perform. This is the foundation for my “Progress Over Perfection” mindset. By God’s grace, He loves me even though I am not perfect. As I make progress in surrendering to Him, seeking to listen to Him, to follow Him, He shows the way and I can trust Him with results and outcomes.
How can being thankful for progress inspire your journey today?