A Way to Measure Your Progress

Walmart Shoppers in Gladstone, Missouri

The other day I was at Walmart. (Imagine a big, lumbersome sigh after that sentence!)

I must confess it’s not my favorite place to shop—especially since our small town store is being turned into a supercenter. Yay, us! I won’t go into all that ticks me off when I’m inside the doors of the world’s largest retailer. It would be ugly and a waste of your good time, since many of you know what I’m talking about!

Anyway, since I had to dodge and weave with many a thoughtless, trance-like Walmart shopper, not to mention, Walmart employee on my trip through those grand halls, I was in no mood!

Finally, I’d made it to the check-out line and found myself waiting rather impatiently for the mother in front of me to notice that her kids were playing rather obtrusively and not allowing me to get to the conveyor belt … 

Isn’t that special! (Picture the Church Lady here—if you’re old enough to remember him/her!)

Suddenly it hit me!

No, it wasn’t the pack of gum that the little tyke was tossing around in the air, hoping his mom would notice his great athletic skills—which, by the way, she never did!

An.y.way …

What hit me was a feeling of frustration … a feeling of being inconvenienced … a feeling of having it up to here! But more than that, I was smacked with a new, other-worldly realization.

This time Christ wanted to remind me of my spiritual progress.

It was like He said, “Beth, this is an example of how well you’re doing spiritually. If the little frustrations of Walmart test your patience, then perhaps you’re not abiding fully in me … perhaps you have some spiritual fruit that needs to sprout and grow. Perhaps you have farther to go!”

In an instant it was me who needed to make a change! It was me who was falling down on the job!

Way to bring things into focus!

I’m going to remember this little method of measurement for my progress. If I’m irritated quickly, feeling entitled to better than I’ve been given, I’m going to remind myself that I have farther still to go and refocus my eyes on Jesus. 

How about you? What do you use to measure your spiritual progress?

What issues trip you up the most or the quickest?

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” –Hebrews 12:1-3 (NIV)

Thankfully I’ve been leading a small group from my church through Lysa TerKeurst’s book, Unglued. I really do think it’s helping! If you’re interested in getting her book, CBD has a limited time $5 deal here.
 
Photo by Walmart

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Joining with NOBH, Works for Me Wednesday, To Love Honor and Vacuum Whimsical Wednesday, Essential Fridays and T.G.I.F.
 
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38 responses to “A Way to Measure Your Progress”

  1. oh yes, it’s all about the impatience. sadly. but thankfully, out of His amazing grace, He hasn’t thrown up His hands and given up on me. yet.

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  2. oh yes, it’s all about the impatience. sadly. but thankfully, out of His amazing grace, He hasn’t thrown up His hands and given up on me. yet.

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  3. Ah, I like the idea of a measuring stick for my spiritual progress. I’ve not really thought about it that way before, Beth. Easily irritated is a good one. For me, it’s impatience as well. How quickly do I lose my temper with my kids; how much do I view them as a distraction from my to-do list rather than my focus. As always, great thoughts, my friend! You both encourage me and challenge me.

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  4. Ah, I like the idea of a measuring stick for my spiritual progress. I’ve not really thought about it that way before, Beth. Easily irritated is a good one. For me, it’s impatience as well. How quickly do I lose my temper with my kids; how much do I view them as a distraction from my to-do list rather than my focus. As always, great thoughts, my friend! You both encourage me and challenge me.

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  5. You had me laughing out loud and being convicted at the same time. What a great measure to help us see where it is we need to grow (especially in those times when we think we “have it all together”). I will definitely be using this measuring stick on myself to help me turn back to Jesus when I am getting off track!

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  6. You had me laughing out loud and being convicted at the same time. What a great measure to help us see where it is we need to grow (especially in those times when we think we “have it all together”). I will definitely be using this measuring stick on myself to help me turn back to Jesus when I am getting off track!

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  7. Hah! As a marketer for a small, family-owned business I fully appreciate your walmart quips 😉 And I love this post! It was a great self-check for my own heart as well. Thanks for sharing!

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  8. Hah! As a marketer for a small, family-owned business I fully appreciate your walmart quips 😉 And I love this post! It was a great self-check for my own heart as well. Thanks for sharing!

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  9. Oh yes, the Lord is always having to remind me of my impatience when I wait in line, or how easily I can get annoyed when someone steals my cart at Costco. And they ALWAYS steal my cart at Costco, lol!

    I will have to look into that book. I am starting a mom’s book study and we will be reading “Desperate: Hope For The Mom Who Needs To Breathe” book by Sarah Mae.

    Thanks for hosting today.

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  10. Oh yes, the Lord is always having to remind me of my impatience when I wait in line, or how easily I can get annoyed when someone steals my cart at Costco. And they ALWAYS steal my cart at Costco, lol! I will have to look into that book. I am starting a mom’s book study and we will be reading “Desperate: Hope For The Mom Who Needs To Breathe” book by Sarah Mae.Thanks for hosting today.

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  11. Dear Beth
    This sounds quite a lot like a Jonah moment when he was mopping under the cucumber tree. Oh, our Pappa does have such a good sense of humor that allows us to fall flat on our faces when we start our tantrums. I had a nice, good giggle, thanks dear friend.
    Blessings XX
    Mia

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  12. Dear BethThis sounds quite a lot like a Jonah moment when he was mopping under the cucumber tree. Oh, our Pappa does have such a good sense of humor that allows us to fall flat on our faces when we start our tantrums. I had a nice, good giggle, thanks dear friend.Blessings XXMia

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  13. Beth, as always, you are spot on!! I will NOT allow anything to steal my joy!! When we see challenging moments as awesome opportunities to slow down and revel in the moment…to see Jesus in the moment…everything changes. Thanks for throwing the Wedded Wednesday link up party, we love Messy Marriage over at IntentionallyYours!!

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  14. Beth, as always, you are spot on!! I will NOT allow anything to steal my joy!! When we see challenging moments as awesome opportunities to slow down and revel in the moment…to see Jesus in the moment…everything changes. Thanks for throwing the Wedded Wednesday link up party, we love Messy Marriage over at IntentionallyYours!!

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  15. Thanks for hosting this link up each week Beth. I wholeheartedly agree that not only is Walmart a great place to get frustrated it’s also a great place to learn patience. My wife and I try to shop at Walmart early in the day or late in the evening to avoid the crowds as much as possible. We’ll have to start rating our Walmart trips to track our patient progress. 🙂

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  16. Thanks for hosting this link up each week Beth. I wholeheartedly agree that not only is Walmart a great place to get frustrated it’s also a great place to learn patience. My wife and I try to shop at Walmart early in the day or late in the evening to avoid the crowds as much as possible. We’ll have to start rating our Walmart trips to track our patient progress. 🙂

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  17. Hi Beth, thank you for hosting Messy Marriage. I have gotten these reminders too, usually just after I thought I was doing well in my walk with God. He is always reminding us to keep the focus on Him and not on others. I love this about our Father. I agree, Wal-mart is a real test of the will. LOL. Kim

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  18. Hi Beth, thank you for hosting Messy Marriage. I have gotten these reminders too, usually just after I thought I was doing well in my walk with God. He is always reminding us to keep the focus on Him and not on others. I love this about our Father. I agree, Wal-mart is a real test of the will. LOL. Kim

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  19. I practically live at Walmart because of its proximity to home and my daughters employment, and you’ve just shown me a spiritual measurement in my life. I live my life outside of Walmart by Christ and career, with my focus on others. In Walmart I ignore everything but what I want and where I need to go to get it. I am the antithesis of true Christlike attention to others. I am not sure that equals patience or understanding or compassion. I just get into shopping focus because I have to be there do often. Let’s see what God does with this new awareness.
    Jody-Lynne from intentionallyyours.org.

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  20. I practically live at Walmart because of its proximity to home and my daughters employment, and you’ve just shown me a spiritual measurement in my life. I live my life outside of Walmart by Christ and career, with my focus on others. In Walmart I ignore everything but what I want and where I need to go to get it. I am the antithesis of true Christlike attention to others. I am not sure that equals patience or understanding or compassion. I just get into shopping focus because I have to be there do often. Let’s see what God does with this new awareness. Jody-Lynne from intentionallyyours.org.

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  21. My place is my vehicle! I get VERY frustrated with other people and feel free to express it – sometimes quite loudly. I am often reminded that my attitude matters wherever I am! And the real kicker is when I have Tyler in the car, God uses him to give me a verbal reminder of my bad attitude. As much as I would like to remind him to shut his mouth so he doesn’t disrespect his mother, I can’t, because the Holy Spirit begins working on me and reminding me that this situation is really about ME and not everyone else involved. 🙂

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  22. My place is my vehicle! I get VERY frustrated with other people and feel free to express it – sometimes quite loudly. I am often reminded that my attitude matters wherever I am! And the real kicker is when I have Tyler in the car, God uses him to give me a verbal reminder of my bad attitude. As much as I would like to remind him to shut his mouth so he doesn’t disrespect his mother, I can’t, because the Holy Spirit begins working on me and reminding me that this situation is really about ME and not everyone else involved. 🙂

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  23. I find my children and my mother’s group places to determine my real focus. When my kids (young teens) have blow-ups, do I blow up right back? Fight fire with fire? When I attend our mother’s coffee/study group, do I join right in with the little man-directed barbs or speak for what is right?

    Every moment holds possibility for measurement — but I think trying to measure myself against everything would overwhelm me more than teach me. I need to see progress, so using a couple of areas as measurement lets me see some, and then I can filter that into other areas.

    It’s all in how you turn it — when I worked as a waitress after college, I had a family sitting in my section. The parents said nothing as their toddler crushed crackers in their wrappers and flung the crumbs everywhere. I felt the irritation rising … and then a coworker walked to the table with the central vacuum hose in her hand and asked the parents, “Would he like to play with this, next?” She diffused the situation for me … something I was not prepared to do, but in a way I will never forget!

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  24. I find my children and my mother’s group places to determine my real focus. When my kids (young teens) have blow-ups, do I blow up right back? Fight fire with fire? When I attend our mother’s coffee/study group, do I join right in with the little man-directed barbs or speak for what is right?Every moment holds possibility for measurement — but I think trying to measure myself against everything would overwhelm me more than teach me. I need to see progress, so using a couple of areas as measurement lets me see some, and then I can filter that into other areas. It’s all in how you turn it — when I worked as a waitress after college, I had a family sitting in my section. The parents said nothing as their toddler crushed crackers in their wrappers and flung the crumbs everywhere. I felt the irritation rising … and then a coworker walked to the table with the central vacuum hose in her hand and asked the parents, “Would he like to play with this, next?” She diffused the situation for me … something I was not prepared to do, but in a way I will never forget!

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  25. Great reminder, Beth. If we can act godly in church but impatient and annoyed at Walmart….hmmmm…not that I’ve ever done that : )
    Yes, it’s the annoying kids and the rude clerks and the inefficient businesses that test us and show us who we really are.

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  26. Great reminder, Beth. If we can act godly in church but impatient and annoyed at Walmart….hmmmm…not that I’ve ever done that : )Yes, it’s the annoying kids and the rude clerks and the inefficient businesses that test us and show us who we really are.

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  27. The car – that is the place where I fail the most. After a little boy asked me if he was going to hell in a grocery store- that opened my eyes to the mission field it really was:)

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  28. The car – that is the place where I fail the most. After a little boy asked me if he was going to hell in a grocery store- that opened my eyes to the mission field it really was:)

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  29. Oh yes, my dear. God so often uses little things to teach me about the big work that yet needs to be done in my own heart!! He is a faithful Father who never quits on us until we reach perfection on the other side…Loved this story! Blessings to you, my sister.

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  30. Oh yes, my dear. God so often uses little things to teach me about the big work that yet needs to be done in my own heart!! He is a faithful Father who never quits on us until we reach perfection on the other side…Loved this story! Blessings to you, my sister.

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  31. A spiritual revelation at Walmart! I love it.
    What I really love is that you were open to hearing Him, even in the midst of your impatience. I love that He keeps standing there and knocking…

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  32. A spiritual revelation at Walmart! I love it.What I really love is that you were open to hearing Him, even in the midst of your impatience. I love that He keeps standing there and knocking…

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  33. This is so funny Beth! By the time Jesus was talking to you, I was in that boat with you. (that tells you how far i have to go too!)

    Funny thing (and this is because am still very new-ish around here i know!) I find the big stores a bit of fun…when am not looking for something that is 🙂

    Lately, I’ve been hearing His voice in the area of comparison and criticism. I’ve got ways to go.

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  34. This is so funny Beth! By the time Jesus was talking to you, I was in that boat with you. (that tells you how far i have to go too!)Funny thing (and this is because am still very new-ish around here i know!) I find the big stores a bit of fun…when am not looking for something that is :)Lately, I’ve been hearing His voice in the area of comparison and criticism. I’ve got ways to go.

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  35. I’ll never look at my trip to WalMart in the same way! (Oh, and I DO remember the church lady!)

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  36. I’ll never look at my trip to WalMart in the same way! (Oh, and I DO remember the church lady!)

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  37. Once again, Beth, you hit us right in the heart…where we need it most! How easy it is to focus on what others are doing wrong, rather than what WE need to change.

    Attitudes are so very important, aren’t they? We can look at a delay and get frustrated, or we can consider it “God’s rerouting!” If He really does know everything and really does plan our lives for the best, then even the inconveniences can be taken with a heart of thankfulness.

    Oh, to get to that point regularly!! Thanks again, Beth!

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  38. Once again, Beth, you hit us right in the heart…where we need it most! How easy it is to focus on what others are doing wrong, rather than what WE need to change. Attitudes are so very important, aren’t they? We can look at a delay and get frustrated, or we can consider it “God’s rerouting!” If He really does know everything and really does plan our lives for the best, then even the inconveniences can be taken with a heart of thankfulness.Oh, to get to that point regularly!! Thanks again, Beth!

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