Focusing on Progress, Not the Mess

It doesn’t always take a completely convoluted series of events for God to remind us of His profound truths.

In this case, God spoke to me as I sorted onesies and pajamas to sell at a garage sale. Piles were accumulating in every room of the house, and at one point I looked up from the  storage tub through which I’d been sifting to survey the craziness that surrounded me. It was in that moment I started to hyperventilate a little.

“This will never end! What have I started?!?”

It was in that instant that God chose to speak to me. “Stop looking at the mess around you and focus on the progress you have made!”

I was struck by this profoundly simple concept. It was obvious, yet I’ve missed this idea  my whole life. What if I really tried focusing on the progress, refusing to dwell on the mess that it takes to reach my goals.

Instead, I’ve adopted eagle-like vision for the messes that make my life inconvenient or difficult.

  • Road construction
  • A crumb-covered table or toothpasted-coated sink
  • Tears on a child’s face after a melt-down
  • Conflicts in relationships
  • Weight still left to lose
  • Unorganized areas of my home

Living life requires daily messes.

But what if I chose to focus on the progress being made because of those messes?

  • A smoother drive to work or errands
  • A more independent child who can feed himself or brush her own teeth
  • A heart that is being touched because his mommy cares enough to train it
  • The richness of a life with relationships
  • Personal goals already met

Messes are necessary for improvement. I can know it as I walk into them, but once they become my way of life as I plod through to reach my desired destination, the messes begin to be all that I see. Piles promise to accumulate bitterness or defeat if I will only accept their invitation.

I am called to the greater thing, however. The finished product. The prize. This gift can only be found if I walk through the valley of messiness, tripping occasionally on some of the clutter that comes with it.

Why not choose to keep my focus off the filth and instead place it on the steps that I’ve made toward reaching the great thing I desire.

No, I can’t ignore the mess altogether. However, messes have a way of getting cleaned up as I work toward completing what needs to be done in order to accomplish what God has for me. Progress takes over and defeats the mess.

Progress requires a lot of work, as does cleaning up messes, but the distinct difference in each is my choice to maintain a positive perspective over a negative one.

Who wants to join me in adopting this philosophy as we live our lives? Don’t forget Philippians 1:6, “And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

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8 thoughts on “Focusing on Progress, Not the Mess

  1. Sarah

    Ahhh, yes! I have tunnel vision to the messiness…and my days are filled with A LOT of messes! But your words are so true. Focus on the progress, not on the mess. I have been making progress lately in the form of tiny baby steps…but it IS progress none-the-less, which is something to be thankful for!

    Reply
    1. Kelly Post author

      You’re right Sarah! Keep your eyes on the prize and look to the baby steps as encouragement to keep going in the right direction. Love you!

      Reply
    1. Kelly Post author

      Courtney, I am getting ready for a yard sale this weekend, and let me tell you, I have had to repeat this phrase to myself over, and over, and over, and over again! My house is a wreck and I’ve let my usual responsibilities slide as I’m focused on getting rid of a bunch of stuff we don’t need anymore. I didn’t plan on learning so many lessons from a yard sale, but I certainly have. Oh, and I’m tired. 🙂

      Reply

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