Photo by Chad Montano on UnsplashDo you follow @year_progress on Twitter?
Every four days, the account posts a new tweet of a progress bar indicating how much of the current year is complete.
In early January the year was brand new.
A world of possibilities.
I looked today (February 13) and saw the most recent tweet shows the year is 11% complete - meaning that tomorrow, the year will be 12% complete.
The account brings to 2020 life the Steve Miller band lyrics from a hit 1976 release Fly Like an Eagle.
Time keeps on slipping, slipping, slipping into the future.
When @yearprogress reminds me of how much of the year is done, I tend to minimize how much work I've completed.
Instead, I go straight to what’s still undone.
The tendency is to feel rushed, to push myself beyond my limits, and to forget about enjoying the journey - the gift - of this life.
Hey, it’s not the account’s fault that I feel this way sometimes.
I sort of wish that were the case, because the solution would be easy - unfollow the Twitter account that reminds me how much of the year is done.
Maybe this doesn’t apply to you, but I can look back on life and see how hard I’ve fought - and I don’t use that word lightly - to change things.
And I mean change things that are darned near impossible to change.
I’ve worked to inform, to change people’s minds, their behaviors.
I’ve been on teams that fought the federal government - and won.
But everything changed when I decided to quit fighting, and to focus on changing the one thing I can change - me.
It took months for me to learn to acknowledge how I felt about some things.
I’d stuffed and minimized feelings for so long that I didn’t even know how angry I was until I wasn’t so angry all the time.
Once I owned how I felt - and the new people in my life refused to tell me if how I felt was right or wrong - I learned to tell the difference between what I thought and how I felt.
That’s when I figured out how to adjust my actions accordingly.
Just because I felt a certain way didn’t mean I had to vent my feelings to anyone within earshot.
I gave myself time to figure out what might be appropriate next actions based on my thoughts and feelings.
More often than not, the appropriate next actions were to do nothing.
Here’s when the cool stuff started to happen - I began to not feel so angry and resentful.
At least not all the time.
There are moments - sometimes days - when I struggle with feelings of anxiety, fear, frustration, resentment, and anger.
Those emotions, though, no longer define me or my relationships.
So when I see the year’s progress bar ticking forward and I catch myself starting to engage in old habits - rushing and getting uptight and freaking out about what’s not done - I get to employ the taco principle that my friend Steve Austin shared on Twitter this week.
We’re going to let our emotions get the best of us sometimes.
Even as we learn principles that help us navigate change, we’re going to execute poorly.
A lot at first.
But we get better - only if we learn to embrace the messiness of our thoughts, our feelings, and our behaviors.
Do you know what happens when we embrace the taco principle of change navigation?
We learn to appreciate the messiness in others.
We start to let go of the tendency to want to fix others.
If we are followers of Christ, we are to learn to “bear with” others.
And if you’re not a follower of Christ, I offer my sincere apologies that many people who put on the cross seem to be screwing this up now.
Colossians 3:12-16 says:
Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.
Full disclosure - I fail to live out this command, too, so I’m no different from the people for whom I’m apologizing.
The taco principle, I suppose, applies here, doesn't it?
My identity is not in my failures, but in who my Abba says I am.
Who does He say I am?
Who does He say You are?
As I leave you with a performance by spoken word artist Hosanna Wong, I'd encourage you to ask yourself two questions:
- "Who do you say you are?
- How will you take a step toward embracing the messiness of life, change, and loving others?
Let me know, would you? I'd love to hear from you.
Interested in more ideas like this?
I typically post a few times a week.
Thanks for reading.