"Better Than I Was"

"I am better than I was."

I believe that these are excellent words to start with.

They are hope-giving, perspective-giving, grace-filled words when I am staring headlong into a project that threatens to swallow me whole.

A project like, say...losing baby weight, hypothetically.  Or paying off a student loan.

Or cleaning. Writing. Eating well. Saving. Building a career. Repairing a relationship. Healing. Seeking God.

These words carry within them courage and commitment.  They say, "I am not there yet.  I'm not even close, yet."  Yet.

They carry within them conviction and strength of self: "Even if no one else notices, I notice.  It is better than it was.  I am closer than I was."

These words are unafraid of being "in process."  They feel no shame in being found undone..

If you have the ability to say "It is better than it was," it means you started.  You could have ignored it, put it off, shrugged it off, or passed the buck - but you started.

You took a step.  It might have been a single, feeble, doubt-filled step, but you are closer than you were.

If you feel like you are drowning, if you feel like everything is un-do-able, like just living requires more energy than you can muster - if you feel like there is no good place to start, no step to take - just shuffle your feet.  Just curl your toes and creep forward an inch.


You are closer than you were.


"I am better than I was."

I believe that these are terrible words to end with.

They are lazy, fearful, cop-out words that belong to a heart that's given up.

When you speak those words as you lay down your sword (or your pen, or your counseling sessions, or your instrument, or your Bible) you are saying, "I am not where I should be.  I know, way down deep in my knower, that there is more for me.  But I'm tired; and hey, I'm better than I was."

Those words, when spoken in surrender, reveal a lack of passion that will kill you - or at least kill the best in you.

Those words mean that you have made peace with unfulfillment and (even if you are very good at burying it) nagging dissatisfaction.  You have made peace with settling.


I will begin with hope, and courage, and grace: "I am better than I was."

I will end with hope, and courage, and grace: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."