Since we are really close to Halloween, that means that Thanksgiving is fast approaching. So let’s get an early jump on being thankful. By starting to practice gratitude now, we’ll be certain to have maximum proficiency by the time Thanksgiving lands. Another benefit to practicing gratitude now is that we increase our chances of creating a lifestyle of thanksgiving rather than the seasonal experience. Finally, the Bible tells us to be thankful, not only for the obvious & good stuff, but also for things that are difficult. Let’s be sure to practice Philippians 4:6, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God
Do you ever say things & then you have to do them? This morning, I posted on FB something about being quick to forgive & slow to judge. Sure enough, I had an opportunity to practice those words not too long after I posted that. Blech.
I wonder if the Holy Spirit doesn’t tell us stuff that’s going to happen before hand, so that when it happens our attitudes and thoughts are ready to have the Fruit of the Spirit operational, rather than the works of the flesh. Let’s make it our goal to stay
so that we don’t fulfill the works of the flesh, like Paul says in Gal 5:16 🙂
There’s not a day that goes by when I don’t mess up something. These mishaps can be relatively small: I was a few minutes late to collect my son after school. And these mishaps can be super-size: I misread a deadline or email for some work that I need to accomplish or I miscalculated a budget item or conversion rate & I don’t have enough money.
In the past when I messed up, it was a double-whammy because I would massively berate myself in my thinking, in addition to trying to fix the mistake. I’m better now, as I don’t roast myself as much as I did, so that’s encouraging. But here are a few more thoughts that could help you, whenver you mess up:
- mistakes are for learning & perfect is for heaven
- be gentle with yourself because it will help you to be gentle with others when they mess up
- messing up seems to be where we rely on the Holy Spirit better
- getting better doesn’t happen without some mistakes & messing up
- “practice” is a good word to replace “messing up”
Be sure to send this to your friends, because we all mess up!
Being the mom of three teenagers, we have some interesting conversations & experiences. In their lives, there a significant events that seem to be defining moments, like getting a driver’s license, taking their first solo missions trip (without me), getting their first job, etc. While these events are very monumental, it seems to me that the more important stuff happens in the preparation for these events. For example, my husband has been massively attentive to help them practice driving so they’re fully prepared when they take their drivers license test. And the work they do at home to clean, do laundry, etc prepares them to do good work on their first independent job, hopefully.
I say all of this to encourage both you & me that the defining moments are hopefully nothing more than the cumulative total of preparation & practice to ensure that these moments / experiences go off with great success. Don’t neglect the importance of daily routines & practice as these set us up to succeed for what can seem to be pinnacle experiences & events 🙂
My family made the Thanksgiving meal yesterday & it was a smashing success! I’m not saying this to brag, but rather to acknowledge years of practice that have finally culminated in success – YAHOOOO!! In any given year in the past, I was practicing on how to cook a turkey that wasn’t dry or under-done. I was also practicing a few other dishes to make them not only edible but also tasty! And this year, I’m celebrating success!!!
We all want to be successful, but we don’t often celebrate the practice required to be successful – so let’s take a moment to applaud attempts & failures more than victories 🙂
Here are some things that help us to be successful:
Teamwork: yesterday, my whole family pitched in to make various parts of the meal & no one was unraveled by too much work!
Practice: keep trying!!
Testing: the guests that came to our meal were the testers. It helps immensely to have objective input on our journey to success
Proficient is a consequence of practice & it seems to me that practice gives us the space to make mistakes, learn, improve & grow into proficiency. So these are the things that I am continually practicing:
- Gratitude – I’m not sure that we can ever be fully proficient with being thankful, so let’s keep practicing
- Forgiveness – it’s hard to forgive, particularly when a person who is very close to us causes us pain, but just because something is hard doesn’t mean we should quit trying; indeed, the person who gets the most benefit from is the forgiver more than the recipient
- Learning – let’s be curious about beneficial things & not stuff that’s meaningless or hurtful
- Patience – uggggh, this one can really get under my skin, which means I desperately need to practice it more so it’s not such a weak spot
So what would be good for you to start practicing more over this weekend?
Don’t be afraid to fail, but do be afraid to stop trying.
Sometimes, I think we don’t try to do things because we don’t want to fail or we’re afraid we won’t do well. I’ve come to conclusion that failure is an essential ingredient for training and ultimately for success. It’s seems to me that the road to success is littered with a fair amount of both failure and persistence.
I say this thinking about Joseph in the book of Genesis & his success in keeping nations from literally starving to death. When you consider his leadership work in Egypt during an epic famine, it’s more than just a little impressive. But consider that Joseph had lots of practice & failure along the journey to get him to a place where he could be so outrageously successful. I would suggest that he was training and practicing in leadership with his family during the dreams and many colored coat thing. Furthermore, he was training with his administrative & leadership skills in Potipher’s house & prison. And all of this was for the ultimate purpose of rescuing thousands & possibly millions from starving when he became second in command in Egypt under Pharaoh.
So when we fail, let’s replace any potential shame with applause, that we tried to do something new or different and we can only get better from here! The other side of failure could mean life for lots of people around you! Be sure to let the Holy Spirit continue to help you practice and get better 🙂
This picture is at the top of a black ski run. I didn’t take a picture of the din because it was a steep drop 🙂
I’ve been snowboarding with my this week as they’ve been on Spring Break & I decided to try a black run (translation: advanced as opposed to beginner or intermediate). The first time I tried it, I conquered! The second time, I was conquered ,)
So I’ll keep practicing. Practice is a good thing – it’s the space where we can mistakes, learn, grow & improve without feeling shame or embarrassment, usually.
There are heaps of things in which I want to do better & honestly, I sometimes get discouraged with myself for not improving more quickly. So I remind myself, “Keep practicing, you’re getting better & better!”
You too! Keep practicing 🙂
When I do physical therapy for my shoulder, I do some exercises (turkish getups, step ups, etc) that have some nice side benefits related to strengthening my core. Translation: my abs get a workout along with my shoulder. I’ve learned that when my abs are strong, the rest of my body has better alignment, agility and strength. In a similar way, I think that one of the core essentials to following Jesus is trusting Him.
So here are some core exercises to consider for your “Cross Training”:
- when you go through high pressure experiences, choose to lean into rather lean away from Jesus (don’t fall back on old habits or destructive patterns)
- consider doing some extra Bible memorizing to strengthen your muscle memory & provide a constructive alternative to the worry default
- pain is gain: I know my abs are getting a good workout when they hurt & following Jesus isn’t only about having perpetual pleasure
- agility comes with practice: the more I trust Jesus, the more adventures I get to enjoy rather than endure (Saving Moses is a great personal example)
- form is important to prevent injury: fully trusting Jesus yields better results than just trusting with pieces & parts
Have an awesome weekend & don’t fight the urge to pass this along to your friends 🙂
I recently did a blog about practicing our trust in God. As I’ve thought about this whole idea of practice, I’m also aware that there can be a few pitfalls along the practicing trust adventure. Here are a few things that you might find helpful with the practicing trust and pitfalls with adventures:
- practice isn’t the place where we get perfect every time. Heaven is for perfect & earth is for practice
- practice & mistakes go together like peanut butter & jelly, salt & pepper. Practice & mistakes are natural complements on the road to success
- practicing trust can have good bleed over in various areas of our lives: if we find it “easy” to trust God with our finances, then consider that the same trust can also be expanded to maybe your health, relationships, job or school
- trusting God is an essential component to growing in an intimate relationship with God
Whenever I hear my kids say this words, I pay extra attention to the tone & volume to know how serious the “whoops” is.
For me, whoops can be:
- I forgot my keys in the car which is locked*the smoke alarm is going off while I’m making dinner
- i forgot to bring cash on an Int’l trip
- my clothes clash
I figure that whoops is the hotbed for the Holy Spirit to Help me & the truth be known, I always need Help & not just for the whoops ,)
Practice is an interesting word: it’s what we do to learn a new skill, it’s how we develop success, it’s how we make mistakes without quitting and practice has lots more benefits! But sometimes I struggle to practice trusting God. I struggle for lots of reasons:
- hurts from the past,
- my own weaknesses,
- I can’t see the future,
- I don’t trust people
So for me, trusting God requires practice. In relation to practice, these are a few helpful tips:
- form: wrong form can create all kind of dysfunctions; the form of trusting God is actively deciding to lean on nothing or no one more than we lean on God (Prov 3:5-6)
- consistency: I find that choosing to trust God is a daily & sometimes hourly decision; when I switch my trust off of God & onto something or someone else, then I’ve stopped practicing
- character: it seems like we often trust based on outcomes & because God is sovereign, we don’t always get what we want & so it follows that we can have some resulting challenges to trust God; rather than trusting God based on the outcomes & results which can change in a blink, let’s decide to practice trusting God based on God’s character – Who God is (kind, just, compassionate, loving, righteous, holy, . . . . );
The Bible is such an essential ingredient in trusting God because the Bible frames for us God’s character and helps us recognize God’s presence & fingerprints in our daily living – thereby helping us to practice trusting God 🙂
What suggestions would you offer to help us practice trusting God?
My new physical therapy exercise is called Turkish Get-Ups & they’re very exciting, so say I with a smirk. I’m supposed to hold some kind of weight, do some weird getting up thing & pretend I’m nimble, maybe.
This is all very exciting because I can see that I’m making progress – to the point that I can do Turkish Get-Ups. Even though I feel uber silly doing these crazy exercises, I’m totally committed to doing them because they’re helping me to reach my goal to go snowboarding, swimming, jogging, paragliding & possibly wingsuit jumping.
Sometimes our spiritual development can be a little bit like Turkish Get-Ups. As we keep growing in our walk with God, sometimes we get to do things that might feel silly. Let’s appreciate, however, that if our flesh feels uncomfortable & silly but our spirits are growing, then ultimately that’s not bad: Maybe we need to pray out loud for someone today.
Maybe we need to ask God for some of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit to move in our lives.
Maybe we need to choose to be patient when we’d prefer to rip off someone’s head.
Maybe we need to ask for God’s help in our daily living rather than trying to be independent 🙂
Let’s do our Turkish Get-Ups ,)
I love to win & I hate to lose – in pretty much everything. So I automatically like all of the Bible verses that talk about me winning, being victorious, more than a conqueror, etc. On the opposite end, the Bible verses that talk about sacrifice, losing my life, crucifixion, pain, . . . . these aren’t nearly as appealing to me as the winning verses. But life seems to have both the winning and losing experiences wrapped into each day: driving, competing at work / school, controversial conversations, competing against myself, etc.
I think that it can feel much better to win than lose, but let me throw out a few perks that can happen from losing:
- losing can reveal our character when we might be at our lowest
- empathy seems to grow better when we lose rather than win
- winning can be sometimes be an impediment to connecting with someone
- losing can be a place where strength, endurance and roots can grow
- sometimes humility grows better in the soil of losing more than winning
Please don’t take this blog to mean that losing is everything. On the flipside, winning isn’t everything either. Maybe “everything” boils down to genuine love 🙂
I don’t like to fail. Actually, I LOATH failing so much that I sometimes refuse to try something altogether to avoid the failure experience & feeling, but that’s a different blog. Here are a few things that help me with success:
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 🙂
When my kids were younger, I had a fairly consistent of habit of making at least 2 attempts to get to the car before I was successful. I was always forgetting something – keys, wallet, bag, coat, shopping list, etc. My husband always knew that my 1st effort to leave would always have some follow up attempts as well & we now joke about this 🙂 He teases me & I always say that my first effort(s) are practice until I can get it right.
Practice is super important – it’s where we make mistakes, improve our skills, learn better ways, grow through endurance, etc. Indeed, practice is an essential ingredient for success! So if you find yourself having to practice alot, don’t get discouraged – you are merely getting continually better!! Consider that today’s results of the consequences of yesterday’s practice & today is the essential practice that we will need for tomorrow’s success 🙂
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 🙂