We grow up hearing the phrase, “Practice Makes Perfect,” yet I wonder if saying this can actually do more harm than good at times?
I have the pleasure of teaching piano to several young students these days. It is fun to watch them learn new things, and discover what they can do if they are willing apply the discipline required. In order for notes to be learned, rhythms conquered and pieces played musically, it does take real determination and practice time. However, I prefer to encourage them to practice in order to get better, not to be perfect.
This same philosophy can be true for life. “Practice Makes Better – Not Perfect.” For one thing, we set ourselves up for failure if we believe we can ever reach perfection. Only God is perfect. We may hit some real high points in our skills and achieve our goals once in a while. However, the ability to be consistent in these achievements all of the time is what makes perfection unattainable.
Do we just give up and call it a day then? I hope not! While I know that I am far from perfect and that I will fail as I work hard in life, I also know that I can make a difference in this world. My efforts are important and serve purpose. So are yours!
When I am weak and fall short of my goal, I can still find strength in knowing that at least I tried and hopefully I learned something from my shortcomings. I can ask, “What is it God is trying to teach me through this lesson?” One important message I must keep in mind is that I am only strong and successful when God is my strength and I allow Him to determine my path and direction.
Another lesson we can absorb in falling short at times is that we can develop empathy for those around us who also struggle. If we always win and are successful at everything we try, then we may have difficulty understanding when those around us fail in their attempts in life. May God use those hard lessons we face to soften our own hearts and minds towards the battle others may be fighting so that we can lend a hand – either literally or prayerfully.
As you begin this week and you have your to-do-list in front of you, what will be your goal of practice? Will it be to strive for perfection and be disappointed, or will it be to focus on getting better, thereby honoring the One who allows you the skills in the first place.
Until next time –