As I ran this morning, I saw a woman with a new puppy. “Oh, what a cute puppy. Congratulations!” I commented as I passed her. She gave me a weird smirk. I continued running, and further down the path another woman was walking with an empty leash. The puppy was not the first woman’s. It was the second with the empty leash and face full of failure, whose puppy had run away.
I had a similar feeling the week before when I forgot to pick my youngest up from preschool and saw it on the face of my friend, explaining how she forgot to renew her medical license.
The similarity in all three of us? Whether our puppy ran away, we missed our kid’s pickup, or forgot a deadline at work…we all felt the shame of not being able to hold it all together.
What is important is what we choose to do with that feeling. We can’t stay there. If we don’t hand over our “not-enoughness” to our God, we will do the next most natural thing…we will compare ourselves to the person next to us. We will rationalize, possibly even being glad that they messed up a little bit more than we did, pushing them down to push ourselves up, and in that race, we are burying each other.
As I bent down and looked into my preschooler’s eyes, he looked back with understanding eyes. He knew I didn’t forget him on purpose. I looked into my friend’s eyes and said, “Of course you forgot. Look at all of the things you are doing so well.”
When it seems we can’t keep the whole stack going, rather than staying in that place, we can pass our feelings of failure and accept His grace. We can choose to begin again and ask, “God, what would it look like to be faithful right now?”
As we learn to do that over and over, we won’t need to compare, because our eyes are not looking side to side, but to the Giver of all grace…and in His eyes, you are enough.
Let’s set our gaze and make a pattern of asking, “What does faithfulness look like today?”