Whoever was the man that said "practice makes perfect" I'm sure had good intentions...it was probably a school teacher back in the 1800's and it has stayed with people today. The problem is that we have created a pinnacle type of thinking. That if you work hard enough, set goals and stay focused, you will reach that pinnacle (aka the top of the mountain). What happens when you get to the top of the mountain? That's right, pure satisfaction, a sense of pride if you will. But then.... that wears off and you either need another mountain to reach a pinnacle or you drop off that mountain and are so exhausted that you stay right there at the bottom. WHEEWW, who wants to do that again?
Our culture needs to change this mentality (including me, I'm a school teacher and I'm guilty!) There is nothing wrong with having goals and staying focused on a task, that is what got me through college. We should hone our craft, that's just a no brainer that you need to better yourself. Unfortunately, this can take us to a place of finality, in other words, to a finish line.
I work hard to be intentional and take advantage of the summer and grow myself at an even greater level spiritually, physically, and professionally. In the past I've taken several classes, read some really challenging books, gone to powerful conferences. These experiences open up doors of revelation, not only with this thought of a finish line, but the vocabulary we use that could possibly have a negative stigma attached. When I say the word "homework" it naturally brings a damper in the room. I become a real downer. And yet if I say practice it seems much lighter, less forceful (this probably doesn't apply to physical exercise/ athletics but it should). What I have come to realize is that my philosophy, my foundation, hasn't changed but the approach on how to deliver it has. I believe in practice, no matter what skill it may be: literacy, the fine arts, athletics, parenting, marriage, speaking, solving conflict, healthy living, discipleship, teaching, etc. I will stand toe to toe with anyone and be very bold to say if you want to be better at anything you must practice....not that you will arrive at a pinnacle but that you will continue to better yourself. Yes, a work in progress. This means practice outside the realm you are using it in. Russell Westbrook is an incredible professional basketball player, not just because he is talented and works hard, but because he puts in extra "practice" to better himself. Again, it's a process. I don't think he wakes up and says "I am now perfect. I have arrived".
This needs to be our mindset with every area of our life. We practice and we make progress. It may not be a huge progress but it's progress. If we want stronger progress then we put in stronger practice but we are not looking for the finish line here on Earth. Our finish line is heaven! So until then, we continue to better every area of our life. I will challenge myself to do things I've never done before in education in order to better prepare a generation for a different way of learning. I will never stop learning myself. I will dig deeper spiritually in order to be a godly mother, wife, mrs. pastor, in order to lead people to their own deeper level with Christ. I will take every opportunity given to me to speak in public to better myself as a communicator. I will make a more intentional effort to lead a healthy, balanced, right- minded thinking lifestyle in order to minister to people. If my only goal is to arrive at a certain place or number, once again....I will slide right down that mountain and lie there.
So, What do you think? Can you do this with me? Can you change your thinking of crossing a finish line and focus on the quality of the run? Can we ask ourselves the question at the end of each week....did I make progress this week?
Let's do this thing!
The Mrs. Pastor