Let’s face it, in this thing we call life, we are going to fall short. Yesterday was Mother’s Day and I had a beautiful, wonderful day with my children and grandchild and husband and mother-in-law. And yet, I allowed my joy to be tinged with guilt in the end that I fell short as a daughter. (In the hectic fun of the day, I forgot until later in the day that I told my own mother, who was away, that I’d have everyone call to say hi, and we missed her. I felt bad she waited around for the call and we had to leave a voice mail.) I have a hard time letting go of my guilt…which affects my present thoughts, which in turn affects my future actions. I’m sure I am not alone in this. As human beings we want to do our best, and so we strive for excellence, and then beat ourselves up when we fall short.
I know God calls us to be our best. But He also forgives us for when we fall short. And if I don’t forgive myself, well, isn’t that a way of turning from God? The Bible is full of saints who strove for excellence and fell short, and yet, are remembered for the good they did, not their failures. Their examples show us that we just have to learn from our mistakes and move on. St. Paul tells us, “I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us…but we must hold on to the progress we have already made.” Wow, pretty simple, huh? Forget the past, look forward to the future, press on to be our best, and focus on the progress we have made.
Sometimes the road is forked or the way is foggy and our choices are unclear. We might make a wrong turn…we are going to make mistakes. We can either throw up our hands and stay stuck, or we can press on. Two steps forward, one step back…means one step forward at least. We need to continue to strive for perfection, to do God’s Will, to become saints. But I think in God’s eyes, it’s the striving that counts.
Lord, help me to remember that in striving to do Your will, I am making progress, even when I make mistakes and fall short. Help me to forgive myself, forget the past, focus on the future and press on.