Maybe you’re looking wrongly at the gap between where you feel you are and what you think God wants you to be.
“For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.” 2 Corinthians 7:10
Satan wants us to always be down on ourselves. He is the Accuser of the Brethren. He knows that our shame takes us out of the game and onto the bench or into the locker room. He disparages us, God’s precious children. Satan gets us into the trap of shame and guilt, looking at our performance excessively.
Here’s what was said about French Discalced Carmelite monk Brother Lawrence (1640), “That when he had failed in his duty, he only confessed his fault, saying to God, I shall never do otherwise if You leave me to myself; it is You who must hinder my falling, and mend what is amiss. That after this he gave himself no further uneasiness about it.” He recognized his sin for what it was. But he did not take himself too seriously.
This is also a great quote from Brother Lawrence in this regard: I consider myself as the most wretched of men, full of sores and corruption, and who has committed all sorts of crimes against his King. Touched with a sensible regret, I confess to Him all my wickedness, I ask His forgiveness, I abandon myself in His hands that He may do what He pleases with me. The King, full of mercy and goodness, very far from chastising me, embraces me with love, makes me eat at His table, serves me with His own hands, gives me the key of His treasures; He converses and delights Himself with me incessantly, in a thousand and a thousand ways, and treats me in all respects as His favorite. It is thus I consider myself from time to time in His holy presence.
The sorrow that God gives us can coexist (even can generate) joy. Recognizing His grace, we realistically acknowledge our brokenness and falling short as a part of the human condition, and are led to praise God, who was willing to die in our place while we were yet sinners, helpless, and powerless. There was nothing in us to commend ourselves to Him before we were justified. And this is still the case for us as we try to be his disciples. We stumble along like crippled, blind men, constantly goofing up as we try to follow Him. As we recognize His amazing grace, His extreme patience with us, our hearts are moved to grateful worship. This is the sorrow without regret.
Actually, our grief over not being all that God wants us to be is, in itself, a form of worship. He loves us to be broken and contrite (Psalm 51:16-17, Isaiah 66:2), to realize our need for Him, to acknowledge that we cannot grow spiritually without Him. Apart from Me, you can do nothing. (John 15:5) We can’t be successful in a life of obedience to God and spiritual fruitfulness without His doing it in and through us. (We make the effort, but He infuses it with power and makes it successful.) Our job is to abide helplessly in His arms and to let Him live through us.