I know a guy that used to run for miles at a time, marathons even. But not anymore. These days he has to settle for measuring his distances by the utility poles on the side of the road, just 125 feet at a time.
Due to a back injury that caused nerve damage, his legs and feet have been in a drawn-out recovery mode. Six months ago his goal was to jog from one pole to the next without tripping. Eventually, he got up to three poles, then four… Now, it still isn’t pretty, but he jogs for about five poles at a time, forcing his legs and feet to cooperate. He’s making progress. It isn’t by leaps and bounds but rather step by awkward step.
Recovering from a setback takes a certain mentality. Let’s call it “INCRE-MENTALITY.” Incrementality is a mentality that is okay with slow, steady gains. Not that you wouldn’t love for it all to happen quick and easy, but you realize it probably won’t and you come to terms with that.
Whether it’s a person recovering from an injury or addiction, a relationship recovering from a massive blowout, or a church recovering from a harsh season of decline, it takes a certain mentality to come back. It takes incrementality.
If you can’t deal with the grind and frustration of the process, you may get discouraged and quit. But if you are willing to settle in for the long term and embrace the process, you will be just fine. Like the proverbial turtle, if you keep on plodding along you will make gains. It may be gradual, maybe even imperceptible, but you will move forward.
This verse from the Bible comes to mind:
“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.” Philippians 4:12
Each of us has a ways to go in our own respective journey, but the reason we can press on, no matter how daunting the task before us, is because Jesus presses on with us.
So if you happen to be discouraged with your progress today, remember your friend, incre-mentality.
It’s a new day with God. Run with it.