I realized something about myself the other day: practice doesn’t alway make perfect.
You know the saying. It’s often used to get people to work at something until they improve. I think there are a lot of things this applies to in life, but writing is not one of them – at least not for me.
When I work on my sermon, sometimes I will stand up and work on a white board in my office. I will walk around, pacing back and forth while I think, and then jot things down with my erasable marker.
I’ve been doing this for a while now, but it dawned on me that I’m not getting any better at it. I mean my writing is not any neater or easier to read than it was when I started this method.
If practice makes perfect, why am I not writing perfect “A’s” or “S’s”? My letters still slide into and up against each other. Sometimes I don’t close them off; sometimes I don’t even make a good attempt at forming the letters at all.
It sometimes makes for difficulty reading, though my wife, Lily, and I are pretty used to it and can figure my writing out with only a little frustration at times.
I know there is another saying that someone came up with … probably someone like me who ran into the contradiction with their own handwriting. That person said, “Perfect practice makes perfect.”
I don’t like that phrase very much because the whole idea of practicing is that we aren’t perfect yet. Maybe “proper practice makes perfect” is a better saying.
I can live with that one because clearly I don’t practice my writing properly.
But you know, I’ve found many things in life that also don’t stand up to this nice little slogan. For instance, I’ve been playing the guitar for years, but I’m not significantly better than I was ten years ago.
I also don’t practice very much, but that’s because I don’t see much progress or perfection taking shape when I do practice.
There are some people who practice driving and they don’t get better either. I know because I find myself driving behind them and beside them on the roads all the time!
If the saying, “practice makes perfect” doesn’t really work, my question is, “Should we keep doing things that we aren’t getting perfect at?”
Should I stop trying to play the guitar? … For sure some people should stop driving and leave that task to someone else! But there are some things that if we don’t become perfect at, well, it’s okay. We can get by; we don’t need to be perfect at them.
Writing for me is one of those things. When I see someone with neat handwriting I get a little jealous. But at the end of the day, I will live with the mess I create on my white board.
I will continue to decipher it when I review what I’ve written, and I will just be satisfied that I’m not perfect.
Here’s the thing: God isn’t waiting for us to be perfect; He takes us as we are and then He works on us. He doesn’t quit on us when we fail to make significant progress towards perfection, but He keeps encouraging us on, in spite of our imperfection and failed attempts. Your relationship with God is not one you should quit working on. Accept your deficiencies and keep working at them. One day in heaven you will be perfect.
Question: What have you been working on that’s frustrating you? Leave your comments below.