I’m Not Becoming Perfect From My Practice

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.

That’s Life!

Paul

Question: What have you been working on that’s frustrating you? Leave your comments below.

I’m In Need Of A Desktop Cleaning

It’s my day off but I’m going to do a form of cleaning that I don’t really consider day off kind of work.

In the cartoon “Popeye”, when he would get to the end of his patience or the end of himself, Popeye would say “that’s all I can stands; I can’t stands no more”. Then he would eat a can of spinach.

You really should read that out loud with one eye shut, speak out of one side of your mouth and have a pipe stuck between your teeth.

Okay now that you’ve said it, that’s how I feel about my computer desktop. I’ve written about this before but it’s time again to address the mess that I have to stare at each and every day.

I have a few home screens that I switch between and, on two of them, I have family pictures. Those faces are skewed because of the number of files that are littering my home screen.

You would think that having those files right there to see would make it easy to find them, but it doesn’t work that way. When you have a screen that looks like mine, it takes longer that if they were filed in some kind of logical order.

Well today’s the day that I’m going to make my computer a little more functional again.

I’m not sure what got me to the point of not being able to “stands it” any longer, but it may have been a comment made by someone the other day.

I was showing a group of people a seminar video from my computer which was hooked up to a projector. For a brief time, the whole group could see what my computer screen looked like.

To make it worse, the projector showed my screen at a lower resolution so the aspect of my screen changed and all the files were condensed and jammed together.

One person said, “Your desktop is a mess.”

Now I didn’t want to call him “Captain Obvious”, but I’ve been living with this messy screen for about a year now.

I just have not wanted to tackle it. There was always something else to do.

I didn’t want to have to think up places for these files to go. It was easier to just leave them there and not deal with them.

Well, today I’m going to deal with it. I will probably trash some files, organize others into folders, and probably move some to a hard drive off my computer.

One of the reasons I’ve taken so long to do this is that I don’t have a space problem on my computer. I have tons of room on my hard drive.

If my HD was nearly full, I would have been forced to do something with these files by now. But there’s no necessity for that.

The only reason I am doing this at this time is that I’m feeling like Popeye the sailor man today – “I can’t stands it”.

Here’s the thing: How is your life right now? Is it a little cluttered with sin, some poor habits, maybe even an attachment to something that’s not healthy? Maybe it doesn’t seem that bad to you right now. But why wait till you “can’t stands it” any longer? It’s impeding your progress now. Don’t wait until you’re buried under it. Do some house (life) cleaning with God today. Confess those sins, turn from them, and ask God by the Holy Spirit to help you clean up your life.

That’s Life!

Paul

Question: What’s been cluttering your life these days? Leave your comments below.

How To Clean Up A Messy Life

I’ve been noticing that things have been getting a little messy in my life. I haven’t been careful at keeping the little things tidy.

messy-desktop

What I’ve observed is, my night table is . . . well, you can’t see much of it because of all the little things that are covering it. You know, you empty your pockets at night, and where do you put all that stuff? Right! You put it on your night table.

Then there are things like cards. I recently had a birthday – what do you do with birthday cards after you’ve read them? … night table.

It seems that once you’ve let a few things stay on your night table, it’s free game for anything else that you or anyone else sees fit to place there.

I look at the mess on that night table and think I should do something about it, but I’m not sure where to put all those things. So they just stay there.

Then there is the desk top of my computer. It is littered with files and folders. They say that your computer doesn’t run as fast when the home screen is filled with the things you haven’t filed somewhere.

It usually starts with me thinking that I will soon need that file so I better keep it on the desktop for easy access. Since that’s convenient, it’s not long until I do that with another file. Soon I’m not taking the time to file anything; it’s easier to just leave it on the desktop.

It looks horrible. I’ve chosen a few pictures that I like to look at for my desktop, but now I can hardly see them for all the icons and file names that litter the screen.

This isn’t the first time this has happened to me. It happens regularly at work. Filing is an issue with me. I just don’t keep up with it and the result is that my desk at work gets some not-so-nice-looking piles of paper on it.

I find that I live this way for a while; it can even be a long while. But at some point – and I’ve reached that point right now – I need to do something about it. I need to do some cleaning up.

I started last night with my laptop. I trashed some files, filed others. I didn’t finish the job but I made great headway towards having a file-free screen.

My night table is next – the cards have to go, and all those other little things that should be put in their places … not just out of sight, but in the right spot.

Here’s the thing: One of the problems with clutter is that we don’t know where to put things. We don’t have a spot for them. Because of that, we tend to leave things lying around, hoping they will find a spot for themselves. But that never happens. Our life can also get messy with stuff we haven’t dealt with that’s just lying around – things like unforgiveness, jealousy, bitterness, lust, anger (this could be a long list). We don’t trip on those things every day, but they sure make our lives cluttered and difficult to relate to God, even find Him sometimes. Maybe it’s time to clean up the mess. Where should you put all that stuff? Take it to God, lay it all before Him and ask Him to deal with it. You’ll be amazed at how He can clean up your life!

That’s Life!

Paul

Question: What part of your home or life gets the most messy? Leave your comment below.