I've been working on trying to become a better version of myself.
Self-improvement is not an easy thing. We all know this. There are a hundred obstacles in our way every time we choose to go down the path toward inner peace, abundant living, and defiant hope.
Sometimes it feels like every time we determine that we will be better, do more, attend to our soul, learn to forgive, strive toward freedom, and generally try to discover our truest and best selves, we are almost inviting hardship.
For example, you decide that you will start going to the gym regularly, and suddenly, you seem to have a ton of scheduling conflicts that get in the way. Or you keep hitting the snooze button on your alarm.
In my house, we simply say, "Alexa! Snooze!" And our erstwhile Amazon device will comply without ever asking us, "Didn't you say you were going to the gym?"
Perhaps you discover great peace in meditation and decide to find a place and time to meditate during the day.
So whenever you try to find a place and time to meditate and quiet your soul, you keep getting disturbed by the noises in your life, like kids being kids in your house, a neighbor using a weed eater outside your window, and a phone that keeps alerting you to texts or social media notifications.
I'm sure you all know what I'm talking about here. There are enough obstacles to a better you that it becomes easier to give up and become resigned to the fact that the surest way to keep from failing is to never try.
The other day, I was scrolling through my social media feeds, and a video of the actor Denzel Washington giving a speech popped up. I watched it because I think Denzel Washington is probably one of the coolest people on the planet.
This is what he said about failure:
If I’m going to fall, I don’t want to fall back on anything except my faith. I want to fall forward, I figure at least this way I will see what I’m going to hit. If you don’t fail... you’re not even trying. My wife told me this great expression: “To get something you never had, you have to do something you never did.”
Listen, that quote has so much awesome that I don't know where to start. I love that Washington is a person of faith and that it matters to him. I love the idea of falling or "failing" forward so you will see what you will hit.
And I also love the idea that "if you want something you never had, you have to do something you never did."
I'm learning that to have the life I want and need, I need to be willing to throw out my old playbook and try something new if what I was doing before isn't working.
That seems simple, but we all know how hard it is to let go of our old ways, routines, patterns, and thoughts.
Jesus once told his followers that anyone who puts their "hand on the plow" to move forward into God's purposes but keeps looking back to where they came from will soon discover they have lost their way.
We may fail at trying to be our best selves; most likely, it will happen at some point.
But if we are determined to fail forward, we'll soon discover that we're picking ourselves up farther along the path than we started. This makes all the difference in the world.
May it be so. And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with us now and forever. Amen.