Chase Perfection. Catch Excellence.
How many of you know that growth can hurt? Growth is out of our comfort zone. But, as we’ve talked about extensively here at Whiskers, it’s imperative to get out of our comfort zone (see Never, Never, Never Settle post here). Even the Bible backs this up:
Lay aside the sin that so easily besets us…
This excerpt from Hebrews 12 has some awesome revelation hidden in it. Let’s take a look.
so easily besets us
In the Greek, this phrase is the word euperistatos. This compound word is made of three parts:
EU means something that feels comfortable.
PERI means around or being completely surrounded.
STATOS is taken from the Greek work ISTIMI which means to stand.
So, EUPERISTATOS translates as something that comfortably stands all around us, such as a comfortable environment. Or a comfort zone (see Take the Limits Off post here).
The sin that so easily besets us- our greatest weaknesses, our bad habits, our unhealthy tendencies- thrives in our comfort zones.
So you see, it’s really important to get out of our comfort zones in order to grow.
But, what happens when you’ve done just that? You’ve met the challenge; you’ve stepped out of your comfort zone. You’ve confronted your fears and doubts head on (see Free Your Mind post here). You’ve gotten rid of bad habits and replaced them with good ones. You’ve overcome old thought patterns and insecurities. You’ve been making progress. You’re stronger. You did like Mae West said to do: You brought your problems out in the open and not only did you laugh at them, but you addressed them. You’re trucking along with a spring in your step and hope in your heart.
And then BOOM. You hit a wall.
Not a new wall. An old one. An old insecurity. An old thought pattern. An old habit. Something you thought you had dealt with within yourself and resolved. But, here you are, staring it in the face again and you feel like a failure.
I mean, all the progress seems reversed. Like you’ve done nothing. Like you’re right back where you started.
Trust me, we’ve all been here. And it is so easy to get discouraged.
When I sprained my ankle, it took months and months for it to heal. I was limping around in flats for a very long time, which was both a physical and mental trial for me as I ADORE my high heel. But after about six months of properly rehabilitating it and doing what was necessary to strengthen it, I got back to walking normally. However, on cold days, sometimes that ankle will act up. It cracks loudly when I rotate it. It aches like it’s still sprained.
Point being, some days you’ll feel like 100%. But there will be cold days and your old condition might feel like it never healed.
But cold days pass and you realize that it was only the circumstance that impacted you rather than your actual condition.
Wounds heal. But sometimes memory has power. In the case of my sprained ankle, it’s muscle memory. In the case of emotional traumas and mental insecurities, we have muscle memory, too.
So what do you do when a cold day comes along and that muscle memory starts to ache?
Don’t panic. The word courage is derived from the Latin word cors which means heart. So, if courage is to have heart, then to be discouraged is to lose heart. Don’t be discouraged. Do not lose heart.
Take a breath. Breathe in, 2, 3, 4. Breathe out, 2, 3, 4. Calm yourself. Quiet the tumult of your negative thoughts. Still your raging emotions. You may be feeling all the feels, but now it’s time to tell them to shut-up.
Once you’re master of yourself again, address it. You’ve done this before. In a way, this will be easier.
Remember, the first time is always the hardest. But, you’ve already done this. You’ve taken your doubts, fears, and insecurities on before. Not only have you taken them on, but you’ve seen yourself make progress in surmounting them.
You’re stronger than you were the first time you did this. You know what you found the most challenging the first time around AND you know what you had to do in order to overcome those specific obstacles for yourself. That makes you stronger because you already have the tactics you need to win.
We all face these battles. And while this might not be encouraging to hear, it’s important to know that battles will never cease. There will always be another one you will be called on to face.
Don’t let that discourage you. Rather, take heart. There is no rush to perfection. As the former Green Bay Packer’s coach Vince Lombardi said:
That’s what you’re doing today. You’re chasing perfection. But cut yourself slack when you run into obstacles, especially those old ruts in the road that seem to get you every single time. Pick yourself back up, dust yourself off, and start moving forward again. You’ll catch excellence. I promise.
Just remember the words of Shane Falco from The Replacements (see The Most Important Part of Football is Heart post here):