Improving has always been important to me: getting the next piano grade, achieving a personal best in a race, shouting at my children less, being ready on time more. At art class last night, my tutor was talking about plateaus in painting and how there was always something to be working towards, how one of her students has progressed to exhibiting and even selling her work.
At a talk I heard recently, the speaker told us that God loves us as we are, not as we should be. I have been pondering this since and was struck by the thought that maybe God is not waiting for me to change. I'm not suggesting that he is not working in my life to increase the image of his Son, but maybe he is not waiting for me to be something that I currently am not before he will love me, engage with me or use me.
Earlier this year I was challenged by a woman whose opinion I value highly to give up making progress. Everything in my life is about getting better: better as a person, a mother, a wife, a friend, a cook, a gardener, a blogger ... the list is endless. What would happen if I gave up making progress? If I stopped looking for change, measuring my success by how much I have improved, or my failure by how little? What if I accepted that I am always five minutes late leaving the house, I cannot finely chop an onion or slice bread straight, I eat more chocolate than fruit, I have a low tolerance for stress, lose my temper easily and run nine-minute-miles. What if I accepted that God and those who love me, love me this way: this shape, short-fuse, wonky bread and a little bit flustered because I am late. What if I love me like that? What then?