If there has every been anyone who despised having to practice at something, it was my daughter when she was little.
Kaitlyn is talented at so many things, but when she was younger, the things that she had to really work at the most, or new skills she was trying to learn how to do, would quickly become huge sources of frustration for her. You see, she could envision herself meeting her goals, but she wanted just them to happen on their own. Without all the work. Without all the commitment. Without all the frustration. Without all the practice.
When they didn’t happen, outbursts of tears and exasperation frequently erupted, usually prompting yet another discussion about how ‘practice makes perfect’, ‘you cant give up when it seems hard’, and that ‘Rome was not built in a day’. I called them life lessons, she called them lectures. What-everrrr.
But now that she is 16 1/2 years old, she has matured in her ways and is always willing to put in the hard work to achieve the results she wants. She has so many aspirations for life, and because of her willingness and commitment to work hard and practice, I have no doubt that she will achieve them with flying colors.
Her biggest hurdle during that season of growing up was not her lack of talent or ability, but the fact that as her frustration grew, her hope dissipated. She would get so discouraged when she couldn’t meet her goal as quickly as she wanted to, or at least see immediate progress, that she would be tempted to just quit. After all, isn’t that the easy choice?
Although I could mark up her frustrations and desire to quit as a part of growing up, I knew I was more like her than I wanted to admit. All too easily, I can find myself getting discouraged when I have been working hard at meeting my goals, or praying for my desires to become reality, or longing for something amazing and miraculous to happen – only to continue to see things staying the same. Maybe you can relate.
Over this past week, our marriage challenges have been focused on challenging us to work at our marriages in new ways in the hopes that through the power of God, our pursuit of Him, and obeying biblical principles for marriage, that He will guide our hearts, and our husbands hearts, into a place of renewal, rekindled love, and re-commitment.
All of the ways mentioned thus far are so important to do, but are also time consuming and at times daunting tasks. They take great commitment, and often require us to put all our faith in God trusting that He will reward our efforts in one way or another. They require us to persevere through those times when we want to quit, and keep practicing what God has laid on our hearts.
Sometimes, the temptation to give in to defeat and give up on our marriage appears like the easy choice. The pain of wondering and waiting if we can really maintain hope that God will change our husbands heart, mend addictions, create intimacy, restore friendship, and heal a relationship, can be difficult and frustrating.
It takes practice to keep going when the going gets tough, and it takes practice to take God’s Word to heart when He promises to hear our prayers and act on them, according to His will.
Philippians 4:9 says “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you”. The better we understand God’s truths and promises as they relate to life and marriage, the more we can apply these principles to our lives. The more we practice them and apply them, the better we will become at living a life, and having a marriage, that pleases God and that fulfills our hearts.
Last week, Kaitlyn met one of her goals. She runs track and cross country, and achieved the best time for her one mile run than ever before. She was thrilled and proud and it has inspired her to try to make it to Regionals this year. Not only because she met a goal, but because she now realizes that commitment and practice really do pay off. One small achievement has fueled her desire to keep practicing and persevering for even bigger and better accomplishments, taking one step of progress at a time.
So maybe, just maybe, there is something to be said for practicing after all. Let’s keep practicing being the wives God calls us to be, so that our husbands can become the men God called them to be, and let every little step of progress fuel our passion to keep striving for our goals to be met, and our prayers to be answered.
Practice doesn’t always make perfect, but it always makes for progress. And every little step of progress in a marriage is worth the effort.
DAY 9 CHALLENGE: PRACTICE
Your challenge today is to practice the challenges from the past couple weeks. Read back over the prior posts and suggestions and see if there are any new thoughts that come to mind. Pray for God to prick your heart when He is speaking and for the ability to obey what you hear.
A commitment to gradual process eventually leads to seeing our goals become a reality, and our marriages improving one day, one effort, one goal, and one step, at a time.
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