6.03.2013

practice doesn't make perfect


prac·tice  
Noun
The actual application or use of an idea, belief, or method as opposed to theories about such application or use.
Verb
Perform (an activity) or exercise (a skill) repeatedly or regularly in order to improve or maintain one's proficiency.

I like to joke that I'm not the type of doctor who helps people, neither an M.D. or a Ph.D., Ed.D.'s like me focus on the practical.  So, while I joke that I'm not the type who helps, my aim is to understand and be of help in the the rubber-meets-the-road teaching day.  

In short, I'm all about practice.

The book St. Benedict's Toolbox: The Nuts and Bolts of Everyday Living (suggested by my friend Michelle) has me thinking about faith practice: the do-ing of faith.  I need practical hands-on stuff as I have a tendency to make a huge list of what I think I need to do, often ignoring the shorter, more do-able and vivifying list that God's given me for today.

I like it when faith practices seem to stick.  Some work for a week and then fall away.  Others make it past the month mark but slowly fade.  I've got a shelf full of old devotions testifying to this fact.  I want discipline, but also want to be realistic when there isn't any pull.

One faith practice has both pull and stickiness lately is prayer beads.  A friend of mine uses a protestant rosary.  Even when she's tired, she can tuck them under the pillow in her hand.  She challenged me to think of 10 things at the end of every day that I'm thankful for.  This simplified Prayer of Examen, takes the day and looks at it as a basket of blessings.  I like the practicality of this as it's literally hands-on, so, when I found a little bracelet with 11 beads--in colors that seemed to sing--I knew that I would start ending my day with 10 prayers of thanks, or 10 people in the front of my mind, and the Lord's Prayer.  

I'm thankful when God leads me to things and people like this, things that help just as much on normal old Mondays as they do on mountain-top Saturdays.  In faith, practice doesn't make perfect.  Christ already did the perfecting, I just need practice living in response.

2 comments:

  1. I am unfamiliar with a protestant rosary. I love the simplicity you speak of, of this practiced living of thankfulness.

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  2. The Examen prayer has been a gift to me on many a night. I think it is important to find practical ways to express our faith. How nice that you can use your gifts to help others do this!

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