Friday, May 2, 2014

Focus Friday: Let's Focus on Progress

I'm frustrated again.

I had gotten used to the hard blue cast on my left ankle over the past month. I was excited about going to the doctor last Friday to get it off, have some x-rays taken, and see what the next step would be. I was getting tired of not being able to put any weight on my left leg. I was hoping for a walking boot, but I knew that I still felt some pain at times so I wasn't sure if I'd be able to walk on my ankle yet.

The time for the appointment came, the cast was removed, x-rays taken, and the doctor came in to discuss them. She was pleased with the healing that was taking place and she pointed out a few things on the pictures. Then she declared that the nurse would come in shortly to fit me for a boot. My heart raced and I looked forward to walking until she went on to say that I still could not put any weight on that leg for at least another month. My hopes crashed as I realized I'd still be using my scooter to get around for a while.

My foot felt like it wasn't even part of my body as I looked at it before getting the boot on. It was swollen and shaky and dry skin was flaking off. Not a pretty sight. At all. That night I had more pain again and I could hardly sleep.

The boot is an improvement in some ways. At least I can take it off and shower without having to put a garbage bag over my leg. That's better. The boot is also worse. It's kind of a pain to undo five velcro straps and take it off and put it on a couple of times a day. It's frustrating to be in a "walking boot" and still not be able to walk. I sigh as I think about a month more of this and then limited weight bearing for probably another month.

Therapy has begun, but it's so basic. I move my foot back and forth, side to side, around in circles. I write the alphabet in the air with my big toe. It's incredible how hard that is. My foot is shaky and doesn't want to move where I want it to. It will come in time, I know, but for now it's just frustrating.

I want to walk now. It's difficult to focus on the progress I've made over the last six or seven weeks. I want to move ahead to the point where I'm taking long walks around our town again. I want to ride on the bike trail and go kayaking. All of that will have to wait until my ankle heals a little more.

We can do that in other areas of life, too. Sometimes we get frustrated when we don't see enough improvements. The weight doesn't come off quickly enough. Our temper doesn't improve fast enough for our liking. We don't spend enough time praying or reading our Bible and we feel like spiritual failures.

We want to jump ahead to the slim, calm, spiritually mature person that we see in our mind's eye. It's frustrating to limp through our imperfect days and not see the results we long for.

What we need to focus on is the progress we're making. Any progress we're making. I'm in a walking boot instead of a cast. That's an improvement. I'm starting to move my ankle after it's been immobile for about six weeks. That's an improvement.

I love a concept that Lysa TerKeurst talks about in her book "Unglued." She introduces the idea of imperfect progress. We don't become perfect, but we keep moving in the right direction. That is what we need to focus on, my friends. Try to focus on how far you've come, not on how far you have yet to go. Thank God for any speck of improvement you can see in your life, and don't focus on the setbacks that are bound to come.

Let's keep focusing on our relationship with the Lord and be glad for any imperfect progress we make.

"...being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." (Philippians 1:6 NIV)

Is there some area of your life where you are frustrated with your lack of progress? Can you find some improvement to focus on and rejoice in any "imperfect progress" you can see?

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