On Progress and Outcomes

The first progress report from middle school came home today and there were some, well… less than favorable remarks on the one we received. It really wasn’t that bad but for this particular boy it was out of the ordinary.

A conversation followed with questions such as,

“What do you think led up to this result?” and

“Do you know what you could improve on?”

The answers to these and more were thankfully appropriate and what came out of it is, the grades don’t matter as much as the lessons learned along the way.

As we learn what we are supposed to learn, acquire the understanding and knowledge we are there for, the process is what shapes us rather than the final grade defining us.

Such is the case for so many of the situations we face on a daily basis even when we are no longer students.  The roads that hold the feet we walk upon and the situations in which we live are watered down to something we must “get through” instead of lessons how we are being formed along the way.  Rather than learning to dance and sing in the rain, we remain focused on getting through the storm.

We pray for healing, relief, and solutions…all good things but until God provides that which He will at His appointed time, are we willing to suffer long enough to see what He wants us to see?  Learn what He wants us to learn?

When I think of what defines me, it’s not how good I am at any particular thing, how successful I am at mothering, teaching, writing or any one I am to any person I am with.  Character is shaped by process that includes and is not limited with refinement and sanctification. I am not defined by that characteristic or even what I’ve been through to be molded this way.

Neither are you.

Sinner.

Adulterer.

Tax Collector.

Pharisee.

Alcoholic.

Ex-Convict.

Prostitute.

Failure.

Lazy.

Hopeless.

Those who call on the name of Jesus are defined by grace.  Grace that is never ending, far reaching that  flexes, moves, and reaches out and reaches down where no one wants to go.

I am defined by the Potter, the Creator and the Artist.  I am not the artist, I am the canvas. I am His workmanship, a work in progress and by His grace my outcome is secure but my process and that which I will learn along the way, who I am becoming and what it will look like is ever changing, ever morphing into the image of Another.

What defines you?  Are you looking at an outcome longer than the process in which you find yourself?

Our eyes should be on eternity, but that view is dim yet He is illuminating something for each of us right here, right now and that process is chiseling us into a final product, the outcome of something splendid, designed before the foundations of this earth.

And that outcome belongs to Him.

Let us not miss it.

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