Source: Flickr Creative Commons

Several times a week, I wake early and tiptoe downstairs. I lace up my sneakers, stretch out my legs, and I run.

I don’t run particularly fast or for long distances, but in my head, I am a runner.  I feel strong and balanced. I feel healthy and liberated. I feel like am the runner that I want to be.

But every so often, I will have one of those runs when I am painfully aware that the vision that I have of myself as a runner is very, very different than reality. I am clumsy and sore. I am slow and breathless. I am tired and disgruntled. And I am reminded that my current reality is falling short of my aspirations.

Photo Credit: whinelessbreathemore.com

Just like I aspire to be a runner every time I lace up my sneakers, I have visions and aspirations of the person that I want to be. I want to be a fun and easygoing wife, a patient and playful parent, an attentive and reliable friend. I want to be a respectful and considerate daughter, an encouraging and understanding sister, a helpful and friendly neighbor. I want to be a diligent and conscientious worker, a truthful and daring writer, a confident and graceful woman.

I want to be these things. I try to be these things. But the truth is that many times I fall short and I miss the mark.

Despite my intentions and hopes and desires to be this person and embody these traits, there are times when I, quite simply, am not. There are times when I am clearly not fun or patient or reliable. There are times when I am not as respectful as I could be, not as understanding as I would like to be, and not as helpful as I should be. There are times when my work is sloppy, my writing is timid, and my spirit is desperately insecure.

This falling short and failing to live up to my own expectations can feel like a double blow in some respects. Not only have I let down myself and someone else, possibly damaging a relationship in the falling short, but I am reminded again that I am not the person that I want to be. And I am left to reconcile the person that I want to be with the person that I actually am.

But the person that I want to be is also humble, forgiving, and self-aware. The person that I want to be is brave enough to admit mistakes, graceful enough to apologize, and compassionate enough to show myself a little mercy.

Maybe these times when we fall short of our own expectations don’t necessarily have to be shortcomings. Maybe there can be courage in admitting our mistakes and strength in acknowledging our inherent human flaws. Maybe we can create connection by acknowledging that missteps are part of the human experience. Maybe we can move closer to becoming the person we want to be by embracing our exquisitely imperfect nature.

So I am trying to be brutally self-aware and quick to apologize. I am trying to accept my flaws and mistakes, with mercy and compassion. I am trying to let go of regrets and eliminate shame. I am placing a higher premium on kindness and meaningful connections. And I am looking beyond myself as I strive to be better and do better.

So that maybe, just maybe, there can be grace in the falling short.

Do you ever feel like you are falling short? How do you reconcile the person you want to be with the person that you are? How do you move closer toward becoming the person that you want to be?

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11 Comments

    • Christie Reply

      Sometimes I have to pry myself out of bed, but I am always happy that I did.

  1. Are we the same person? Jeez, we think alike and appear to have similar thought patterns! 😉 I hope that’s a good thing to you. It is to me. That photo is PERFECTION! And your words always ring true for me. I’ll keep running if you will …

  2. I think falling short is the burden we all carry this side of Heaven. I can completely relate to what you’ve said here- all of it. In have such hopes and plans for the woman and mother in want to be but I so often can’t find those aspirations under the piles of dishes no one helps with. They are drowning beneath the repeated lectures about being kind and thinking of others and put your darn shoes away! But I try to remember that having aspirations and plans is a good thing regardless of whether or not I fulfill them. Simply making these goals keeps me working toward improvement and prevent me from becoming stagnant and failing to grow. It also teaches me grace. A lot of grace. Yet again you say it perfectly.
    Vicky
    http://thepursuitofnormal.blogspot.com/

    • Christie Reply

      You are so right, Vicky. Having the aspirations helps us move toward the best version of ourselves.

  3. I think you wrote my heart. I often wish I was the perfectly balanced, reliable, organized, efficient, happy, kind, wife/sister/daughter/friend. But I often fall short. I love your words…perhaps there is grace in the falling short. Beautiful.

    • Christie Reply

      Awww, thanks, Stevie. I don’t think we are alone in this.

  4. I feel this way all the time. I never know if my own vision is distorted. The only thing that ever truly settles my mind when it spins like this is prayer. I ask God to empty me of me and fill me up with Him. I fall short all the time. I miss the mark everyday.

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