Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Journey

On Tuesday we've been Practicing Pauses - last week I wrote about planning ahead. This week, why "practice" is important.

It is my tendency to pursue perfection. Once I become interested in something, I want to know everything there is to know about it, and become an expert. If I try something and it becomes quickly obvious that it doesn't play to my natural talents, I promptly abandon it because I can't stand the idea of being merely mediocre at something.

This is not necessarily a positive attribute, since when I'm faced with something that cannot be mastered (coughraisingchildrencough), I end up frustrated. Enter the concept of practice.

Mastery is a destination. Practice is a journey. On some level I already understood that - I'm teaching Brooklyn to "practice patience" because as an adult I recognize that patience isn't something you can be (at least not without some serious help from the Holy Spirit) and we also "practice peace" when we get overloaded (since peace is something that, while attainable, is also oddly easy to abandon).

Even at that, and even with my desire to succeed at things, I've never been fond of practicing for practicing's sake. It's taken a long time for me to reach a point in knitting where I can cast on and work a few rows, to be pulled out later, simply to show someone else how - to be able to say "every stitch is practice" without gritting my teeth as I unravel row after row of wrongly knitted fabric - to see that the Navajo, Amish, and Persian belief that every piece should include an error because only God is perfect doesn't mean deliberately messing up, it means not compulsively going back to correct every mistake as you go.

But if I'm truly honest with myself, I know that I'll never be able to master anything on my own - especially nothing of the love-joy-peace-patience-kindness-goodness-faithfulness-gentleness-self control ilk. So I pursue pauses instead, seeking to spend time in the presence of my Master and only hope.

Do you relish the journey, or set your heart on a destination?

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