In my school days, I remember receiving assessments in the middle of a semester to let me know how I was doing in classes. These progress reports gave an indication of what my next moves needed to be in order to achieve success in the rest of the semester. The word "progress" is defined as forward movement toward a destination. Today, it is my hope that you are making progress towards being who God says you are. Your destination (destiny) is the place your movement must be aimed towards.
What movements have you recently made in your life? Are those movements taking you forward or backwards? Progress begins with honest self-reflection. Today, I encourage you to look over the recent moves you have made in your life and genuinely examine if your movement is taking you closer to or further away from the destination that God is calling you to.
We all spend a lot of time hoping for progress, but oftentimes progress can seem to be elusive. Have you ever been in a season in your life where it felt like you had made no forward movement towards your destination for quite some time?
Progress really is not as hard to attain as we sometimes make it out to be. The etymology of the word progress breaks the definition of the word down to pro (forward) and gressus (to step). It is from the Latin "progressus" which simply means to step forward. I believe many of us are often off the mark with our self examination and we mislabel ourselves as individuals who are making no progress because we have not arrived at our destiny. This is likely to be an inaccurate analysis. It is easy to lose site of the progress you have made by focusing on the distance you still have left to go towards your destination. Your progress is not about your arrival at destiny - it is about your stepping forward towards destiny. In fact, that's what the whole of salvation and right living is about - stepping forward towards destiny. It is a process of progress.
As you examine yourself, you must diagnose if your recent movement has taken you closer to destiny or not. Does that relationship take you closer to or further from destiny? Does that decision carry you in the right or wrong direction? Is that choice bringing you one step closer to or one step further away from your destiny? If you are not moving closer to destiny, there is a simple solution - just take a step forward! If you feel you're not making progress, it's crucial that you determine what you are going to do about it.
Tonight, I spoke with one of our church leaders and I asked the question, "are you making progress?" The answer was, "some". I continued investigating and we discovered that for this leader, she would feel progressive if three things happened. One of those things was to get up earlier in the morning. She immediately set an alarm for earlier and instantaneously - BOOM! - she made progress. It was as simple as that - she took a step forward - not a sprint - not a flight; she didn't even exactly reach the destination by doing what the goal was but, she took a step forward. This is a change in how we grade ourselves; this is a change in how we measure our progress. If we assess ourselves based on the true definition of the word, "progress" rather than our idealized image of the meaning of the word, we would win more; we would be less discouraged, and make much more progress.
Finally, once you make progress, study your success. What did you do right? What worked? Once you discover the patterns of your success, apply them again and continue your success - keep progressing - keep stepping forward all the way to your destination. I heard Andy Stanley say, we typically don't study our own success. We study our failure and other people's success, but not our own success. If we would learn to pay attention to what we do right, we would perpetuate our success rather than our failure.
Today, as you assess your progress towards destiny, I encourage you to pay attention to what is right about you, instead of only focusing on what is wrong with you. My prayer for you is that you take steps forward all the way to your destiny. Don't discount the progress you are making towards your destination.
But we must hold on to the progress we have already made.