When we look at the lives of those who have done amazing things— who have scaled mountains, healed hearts and souls, built multimillion-dollar companies— when we look at them, we see excellence. Not only excellence, but we assume that the way they achieved what they wanted was through a steady linear progression into awesomeness. They always improved, they always made the best decisions, and they never regressed.
This gives us the feeling that all of life should be a steady linear progression into what we want. Every day we should improve at least a little bit. The unfortunate fact is that life doesn’t work that way.
It is a steady stream of ebbs and flows. Five steps forward and two steps back. One step forward and three steps back. Sometimes we balance our work, home, health, and spirituality well. Sometimes we don’t. Sometimes we are kind, gracious, loving people. Sometimes we are vindictive, petty, angry people. Sometimes God feels so close, so near, and we hear His voice so clearly. Sometimes it’s like He couldn’t be farther away.
We don’t always give ourselves, or other people for that matter, grace in those moments when we ebb. We rejoice when life is flowing and full and wonderful! But we feel ashamed of our ebbs, our moments when we go backwards.
But that is the nature of humanity, of the seasons of the earth, of the tides. Everything ebbs and flows. When we give ourselves and other people permission to improve and go backwards, we allow for more growth, more joy, less shame, and an infinite larger amount of freedom.