Always Practicing

It seems to me that life is more about practice than perfect. When I keep this in my thinking, I don’t get so easily discouraged. Indeed, it seems to me that the journey to success are various sizes of incremental improvements. Some increments are big & some improvements seem infinitesimal. Furthermore, I often learn more from my failures than success, particularly when I think of failing as a verb & not just a noun. 

So things that I continue to practice on include:

  • Encouraging words
  • Listening to understand more than reply or argue
  • Trusting God
  • Paying attention to the Holy Spirit

what looks like failure

I hate the word “fail” – it almost makes me have a visceral gagging reaction, borderline puking.  Thankfully, if I take a minute to pause, evaluate and collect myself, I don’t puke.  But if I’m not careful, I can easily throw things into the “failure” column and in a nanosecond find myself back to mental wrestling mat, almost down for the count.  As God & I were talking about this whole failure thing this morning, I was reminded about how Jesus looked hanging on the cross, beat to a bloody pulp and possibly personifying the ultimate failure.  He was betrayed by his friends, completely helpless, physcially obliterated and even yelling at God, “Why have You forsaken Me?!??”

Hanging on the cross, Jesus looked more like a failure than anything I’ve ever experienced & yet from God’s perspective, perhaps Jesus had never been more successful in His earthly existence, up to that point.  Let’s be careful that we don’t frame failure in the context of defeat, permanent or hopeless.  Jesus rose from the dead and living in our hearts, we have resurrection potential every day.

Be sure to pass this along to anyone you know who is struggling with seeming defeat or failure 🙂

do you want to be successful?

How’s that for a stupid question!?!!  I don’t start anything with the intent to fail & I most certainly do not like to fail, full stop.  But some of my thinking about success has been changing & I’m becoming more aware that many of my ideas about success have been more influenced by my American culture rather than the Bible.  My culture says that success is all about being bigger, better, more, power, stronger, wealthy, popular, image driven, new, hip, trendy & all things glitz & glam.  In the American culture, success isn’t about being broken, serving, homely, unpopular or tarnished, some of the things that Jesus personified & taught.  The more I think about success from a cultural versus a biblical perspective, I have to conclude that my culture and the Bible don’t always agree.  The important part of the disagreement is the side on which I chose to live.  If I have to chose between being successful based on the Bible or on my culture, I’m going to side with the biblical definition of success 🙂

How about you?

practice :)

Failure is merely the evidence that more practice is needed.  I have a fun list of things that I’m pretty good at:  languages, cooking, basketball, travel, etc.  But the only reason I’m good at these things is because I’ve had alot of practice with them that has included boatloads of failures.  I don’t think I could even begin to list all of the burned or raw chickens I’ve made, the traveling bloopers I’ve done – especially with Saving Moses, baskets I’ve missed and comical mistakes I’ve made trying to learn various languages.  Failure is nothing more than an investment for success as long as we don’t quit 🙂

keep practicing!

the difference between failing and be a failure

 I know that it’s July & most of us are enjoying the lovely Summer heat, but I’ve been thinking about snowboarding, my favorite winter sport 🙂

All of my family skis & I’m the only one who snowboards.  When they measure the success of a day skiing, they’ll often talk about the few number of times that they fell, or that they didn’t fall at all.  In contrast, when I was first learning to snowboard, I stopped counting how many times that I fell because I can’t count that high ,)  But all of those times falling were nothing more than stepping stones to help me to learn a sport that I now thoroughly enjoy.  I still fall from time to time when I snowboard & now when I fall, I make sure that it’s a REALLY GOOD FALL 😀

So my point is that failing doesn’t make us a failure unless we quit.  There are alot of things in which we can fail in life & these things are often the exact places where God would like to move the most in our lives with beauty, grace, poise and redemption.