practice

Dylan was doing his homework the other day and in his frustration asked, “why do we have to do homework?”

My response was, “you have to do homework to practice what you’ve learned. You’re not going to get most things the first time you do them, you have to practice over and over and over before it gets really easy to do new things.”

As I walked away, I felt like God was tapping me on the shoulder and saying, “Did you hear what I just spoke through you to Dylan? It wasn’t just for him, Sheila.”

Some time ago, it became my heart’s prayer to be more like Christ…really like Christ, regardless of what that meant I had to give up or give in to. My prayer was that I would be able to respond to tough situations with an attitude of grace, humility and patience…just like Jesus would.

So, He’s given me lessons to learn from His Word on these things.

Lessons like…

James 1:19 …everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.

Colossians 3:12 …clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

Proverbs 3:5-6 …trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.

And then He gave me “homework” to do so I could practice what I’d learned from His Word…

He let me face tough conversations where I could choose to show grace instead of frustration.

He allowed situations in which I could choose to focus on the past and replay hurts or forgive as I know He has forgiven me time and time again.

He gave me decisions to make where I could submit all of me to trusting Him even when I didn’t understand Him.

Sometimes I’ve turned in my homework, smiling, knowing that I have done well and I would only need a few more exercises in that lesson to make it part of my character. Other times, I’ve wanted to declare that the dog ate my homework, knowing I had missed the point completely and I’d have to redo that page.

And when I get still, I’m grateful for God’s grace.

Grace to give me lessons to practice what He’s teaching me.

Grace to erase all my wrong answers and let me try again…and again and again.

Until my character becomes a better reflection of His.

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