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

spread your wings

“Are you telling me that at 28 years old, you never want to get better than you are today?”  One time I had a coaching opportunity for a friend who was doing some preaching.  I made them practice all of their sermon in front of me in the room where they would be giving the sermon.  This person felt kind of silly going through their entire sermon in front of just one person, in a big empty room.  Nevertheless, this was a really good exercise and opportunity to practice & grow, even though they felt awkward.

So here’s my encouragement:  try new things, regardless of your agility.  Ultimately, when I try new things, I get to lean into the Holy Spirit for help & that’s the best thing I could ever do in my life on a consistent basis!  🙂

Painting Lessons

Well, I’m in the middle of painting 2 of our kids rooms & we’re having some fun learning how this whole project is supposed to work. There are some interesting parallels between painting & God:
*progress requires patience & boy am I grateful that God & others are patient a me as I grow, spill, have failures & learn
*slow work tends to avoid fast & messy mistakes – ceilings, corners, edges all require more precision & care
*its ok to get messy – still trying to get paint off of my hands, arms, legs, hair & the kids. Thankfully God cleans me up better than my best efforts
*you can paint over mistakes – paint has great redeeming qualities with mistakes, but nothing is more efficacious than Jesus’ blood
*keep trying – we’ve got another room to do & I know that I’ll learn even more about this process & I’ll continue to get better 🙂
*painting will not be my fall back career, unless I plan to go on a long-term fasting schedule ,)

you can!!!

When my kids were in preschool, I went to the parent intro day & I learned a great lesson watching one of the teachers who was working with a 4 year old.  The 4 year old was having a difficult time trying to do some work with her scissors & when the teacher circled around the room to check on everyone, the little girl said to the teacher, “I can’t do this!!”  The teacher was super patient and stooped to help the little girl, but said very firmly, “Honey, never say, ‘I can’t.’  Instead say, ‘I’ll try’ or ‘I need help’ but never say, ‘I can’t.'”

This lesson has helped me in more situations than I can count.  We often say in our minds or actions, “I can’t” when something is really difficult, or when we’re tired, or when we can’t figure out a problem, etc.  We truly may have reached our limit, but with Christ nothing is impossible and we can do whatever He tells us to do.  We can do all things through Christ Who strengthens us – Philip 4:13!!

direction not perfection

Here’s something I’ve been thinking about – my Hebrew teacher says this us:  direction & not perfection.  He wants us to try, even though we may make a mistake.  I’ve been thinking about this because I know that there are alot of times when I don’t try something because I know I’ll be bad at it, or I’ll look stupid, or I know that I’ll fail, or . . . . .  I think we are all like this to varying degrees.  Maybe you shy away from sports because you’re not athletically “inclined”.  Maybe you avoid musical instruments because you don’t have “that knack.”  Maybe you avoid certain things because in the past, you’ve had failures in those areas.  While I think there’s some wisdom about how & where we spend our time, efforts, talents, etc;  I also think that we need to be careful about how we potentially limit ourselves and even possibly God.  I think that sometimes our “no” could be an indirect way of telling God that He won’t be able to use us in a particular circumstance or situation.  Let’s be careful that we don’t justify our “no” to God based upon our past, our comfort or our talents & abilities. 

Remember, God doesn’t call the qualified, but He qualifies the call.  God doesn’t use the perfect, but rather the broken.  God doesn’t depend on your ability as much as you availability.  Perfection is for heaven & practice is for earth – don’t quit practicing 🙂