What we end up with is seldom what we aimed for at the beginning. Sometimes it’s less than we thought, and we can see many efforts that seem like failures. Other times, we find much more than we ever thought we possibly would, and it kinda seems too good to be true. Something we humans are good at doing is tuning out these ‘success stories’ to focus on all the times we didn’t get what we wanted.
One reason it can seem like there are more failures than successes is because once we have found a certain ‘yes’ moment, we have achieved the goal we had set for ourselves. We move onto working towards a different goal and can forget to even acknowledge the hard work we have put in to making something happen. I have played ultimate (frisbee) for over fifteen years. I have competed at both the mens national championship and the mixed national championship tournaments here in New Zealand at least five times each. One thing I have not managed to do, is to be part of a team that has won the mixed national championships. At different times I have felt the pain of this perceived failure more deeply than others. I have a goal, and expected we might win several times, but haven’t managed it yet.
I also want to publish books. Epic fantasies, incredible sci-fi stories, educational historical fiction sagas, books depicting some of my reality managing my struggles with depression. I am only in the fledging part of my journey to publish books, and have a lot of work ahead of me which I very much look forward to. Every so often, though, I look back at time spent doing other things and see it as wasted time. Playing video games, watching oodles of professional sport, staying up late watching movies and tv shows, pulling all-nighters at university because I’d left starting an assignment too late, lying face down on the floor because it was all I had the energy to do. The time spent lamenting these decisions I’ve already made is time I am wasting, NOT the time I spent doing the ‘less useful’ thing. In each of these moments, I made the best decision I could with the information I had available. It may not have been the best decision I could ever have made at that moment, but I am human.
Now there’s an important penny that just dropped for me: I am human. I make mistakes. I mess up. I fail often. One thing I’ve learned not to do? I don’t give up. I may slow down, I may change direction, but I never give up. God helps make sure of that.
God has also helped me understand something important, particularly over the past four years: My worth is not tied up in how good I am at ultimate, or how many winners medals I have hanging on my wall at home. My worth is not tied up in how many books I’ve published or how many readers I have following me on my Twitter author profile. (Note: I’m not active there yet very often, which is something to work on!) My worth is not tied up in whether I finish all the work I want to get done at my paid job each week.
My worth lies in putting in one hundred percent effort every day. For others, for myself, and for God. What ‘one hundred percent effort’ means will change every day, and that can lead to problems. “But I did way more than this yesterday?” How about, “We would have won that game if I’d just <insert appropriate sport action here.>” Maybe even “Why did I watch a movie instead of editing that book/recording that song/sleeping?”
I’m still figuring out how to tell what one hundred percent effort is every day and whether I’m doing it. Some days I give more than my body and mind can handle – and that’s ok! However, this means some days I give less than I think I should, and must understand and accept there is a reason for it.
Balance. Difficult to find, but our lives are better for understanding where that lies for us.
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Being as honest as you can with yourself, how balanced is your life right now?
If you’re feeling off centre, like your scales are about to tip and fall; what is one thing you can do today to help right the balance?
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We’re all human. We all have struggles. Share love and kindness where you can, whenever you are able.