Growing up I was an athlete. When I was shown how to do something better, I delighted in that. I loved learning new skills.
But what does being shown how to do something better imply? “You weren’t doing it right.”
What happens to many of us is we get stuck in the judgmentalism of “I’m not doing it right.” Because others constantly judge us, and we constantly judge ourselves, we project that on God. We forget, our formation happens in a giant field of generosity. What if we related to our spiritual formation like an athlete?
Think about learning to hit a ball like a 10-year-old—a moment of great joy. All the times your feet weren’t positioned correctly or you swung and missed go out the window with the joy you feel of “That ball just did what I wanted it to do!”
This approach to formation is so important. It allows us to have friendships, and families, and church communities in which we radiate joyful generosity—not judgment—to each other as we grow. It foments a childlike joy in seeking Christ.
The self that obsesses over “I wasn’t doing it right” is the self we’re called to lose. We’re called to lose it, not because the self is bad, but because our real life is in God. If we seek that, we will live and be human as God intended.