I have a friend who in the last couple years has successfully quit smoking. When talking to her about it she told me she had tried many times to quit before she was successful. The thing that helped her the most, was her doctor’s advice. She told me her doctor encouraged her not to get discouraged when she would attempt to quick and then would go back to smoking. To instead think of each of those attempts as “training” for the time when she would quit for good. She told me he said instead of thinking of it as “trying” and “failing” to think of it as if training for a marathon. A person does not just decide to run a marathon one day and then run it, there is a long training process where the person practices running over a long period of time to build up the person’s endurance.
I really liked this idea and I think it is close to my word of the year: Strive. I do not have to do everything perfect the first time around. Change, whether it is quitting something, starting something or change in my heart it is a process. I think kids are better at realizing this than adults. I have watched a little child, learning to walk, and she takes a few steps and then falls, laughing. Laughing! The baby doesn’t expect to walk on her first try, she practices and practices until she is racing across the floor, getting into everything and Mom can’t catch her! I think as and adult I can do so many things, that I think I should be able to learn new things easily, but this is not always the case. In certain areas I am like that little baby, learning to walk. I am unexperienced and need to give myself time to practice and learn. I need to give myself some grace!
Paul talked about this process of walking with God through his life. Even admitting he was still not perfect, but had to keep working at it. Philippians 3:12-14 “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” If Paul did not have everything figured out, I certainly don’t either. But Paul was striving for the goal. I hope to do the same this year.
One of the areas I am practicing is spending time with God everyday. I have done this before, practicing spending time with God. For awhile I did it every morning. But then I got off track. I was so busy, I felt like I could not fit it in and this quiet time was left behind in the dust. It is not easy to make a habit as this article states. But not impossible! With God all things are possible. I thank God that He gives me grace as I am attempting this, and other things to strive for this year.
Question of the day: What have you been practicing lately?