“We’re all underperforming.” These words, spoken by a mentor of mine during a recent lunch meeting, were a little hard to swallow.
Hours seemed to pass in what was actually only seconds when the truth of his statement settled in. He’s right. We’re all underperforming. He didn’t intend for his words to be a stinging criticism of me or anyone else. He was simply acknowledging something we all know to be true.
All of us could be doing better. We could all pray a little more. We could all spend a little more time with people. We could all work a lot harder. The list is endless. If we only focus on all we’re not doing, though, we will never accomplish anything. One of the core values at our church is “Growing People Change.” We keep this at the forefront of everything we do lest we forget that we all have a long way to go as we progress in life and relationship with God. Yes, I have a long way to go before I arrive, but I am growing and continuing to change with that growth.
I’m not surprised when I fail. Rather than get discouraged, I remember that growing people change.
This isn’t an excuse for me to continue to underperform, but an encouragement to never give up when I fall short. Perhaps you feel the sting of underperformance and are a little discouraged. Here are a few things I try to do to remind myself that growing people change.
First, I try to focus on my successes. What are some areas I’ve already made progress in. Remembering how far God has brought me and how much I’ve grown is an incredible motivator to move on to the next thing.
Next, I try to be honest about what needs to change. Taking a self-assessment and not being afraid of admitting where I lack maturity is difficult, but ultimately liberating. I can’t make any progress unless I know what needs fixed and that requires honest, prayerful reflection. This is a great benefit of having a mentor who can lovingly speak the truth to me, especially in areas I have blind spots.
Lastly, I try to remember that Jesus never underperformed. This is the most important thing any of us could ever know. Since Jesus performed exactly as His Father wanted, my faith in Him imputes His performance to me. This mysterious cornerstone of the Gospel is enough to fuel my desire to serve him to the best of my ability. Not out of necessity, but love.
Growing people change. Paul reminded his friends in the city of Philippi of this when he said “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.”
It was God who started my growth and it is His strength that will complete it. I’m trying to remember this for myself and those I lead. As I’m learning how to be patient with myself I’m also learning how to be patient with those around me. My prayer is that I will seek to focus on their successes, be honest when something needs to change, and remind them of God’s free gift of grace through His Son, Jesus.
Growing with you,