In that hour, there’s a lot we could work on. He’s pretty far behind.
At first I was overwhelmed because I didn’t even know where to begin. So I tried to focus on a little bit of everything. But we never really made any progress.
So instead, I started focusing on helping him learn one thing each tutoring session.
Instead of trying to work on reading and addition and counting by fives and how to pronounce “k” sounds all in an hour, we just worked on adding by zero. And then the next week we worked on adding by one. And the next week we worked on sight words.
Since we’ve started focusing on one thing, I’ve seen a lot more progress in him.
Before I started tutoring, I knew we should just focus on one or two things each time.
But when I come face to face with problems that need solving, my natural reaction is to try to solve them all as quickly as possible.
And I do that in my personal life, too.
I want to fix all my problems and become the person I want to be by the weekend.
But when I try to fix everything immediately, nothing ever improves. Usually everything just gets worse and I get more confused and frustrated.
I’ve recently started focusing on just one goal at a time.
For example, a few months ago I knew that I needed to:
- Improve my anxiety
- Ask people to hang out more so that I can make friends
- Get involved with church
- Write more
- Be more spontaneous with Kalyn
- A million other things
I decided to focus on my anxiety first, because it was the thing most negatively affecting other parts of my life.
And when I made my goal “Work on my anxiety” instead of “Defeat all my problems as soon as possible,” I started to see results.
Not only did my anxiety start to improve, but the other areas I needed to work on also started to improve, even without me focusing on improving them.
When we focus on one thing, and when our goal is simply to try our best, we are allowing ourselves to be imperfect. And that means we are treating ourselves with grace.
And as we treat ourselves with grace, we become more gracious people, and that grace starts spilling over into other areas of our lives, redeeming the messy parts and making them new and bringing healing.
With grace, all the pressure to be perfect is off. Grace makes us free to be ourselves, to walk slowly with Jesus, to set our feet firmly on the slow path to redemption.
But when we try to improve everything at once, chasing perfection by the weekend, we’re just sticking our feet firmly in the mud and going nowhere.