Flourishing Versus Flawlessness
Practicing Spiritual Disciplines doesn't mean that we stop struggling with sin altogether. There are going to be glorious victories and humiliating defeats, battles we win and battles we lose. Our vices are wrapped so tightly around our souls that it takes years – not weeks or months – before they loosen their grip. Here is where we must learn to be realistic with our progress. When we fall prey to our vices — which will happen again and again — we must learn to be gentle with ourselves. It may be helpful, from time to time, to picture yourself as a child learning to walk. No one scolds a little one when they stumble, and we shouldn't scold ourselves either. Falling down is part of growing up. God doesn't expect us to be flawless, He expects us to flourish. We're going to make mistakes, if we respond to them in the right way, we deepen in humility and He renovates His image inside of us. "Accepting the reality of our sinfulness," wrote Brennan Mannin "means accepting our authentic self. Judas could not face his shadow; Peter could."