Practice Makes Perfect

My adorable piano student stood before me, unzipping the bag that held her piano books and hesitantly informing me that there were two songs she didn’t know very well.  When asked why, she said they were too hard.  When she sat at the piano, I asked her to play the first of those two songs.  As she faltered and stumbled through the first one, I realized what was going on.  She hadn’t even practiced the song because  she didn’t like the song.  It certainly wasn’t too hard.  It was filled with basic notes and timing–both of which had been familiar to her for awhile now.

When questioned if she liked the song, this little girl, a bit embarrassed, was truthful with me.  As I assigned the song again and told her that sometimes we have to do things we don’t like in order to really be successful, I thought of how much that is true in all of life.

Why do we have this idea that we can be good at something without practicing it?  And why do we think it happens without struggle and working above feelings?  Only through practicing – through songs we don’t like, through rhythms and measures that seem impossible, through working up the courage to play for an audience–do we become successful at playing an instrument.  The same would hold true of most anything in life.

And if that is true then the following two things are probably also true:

1.  If practice makes perfect, then older people probably have a lot of practice at living and perhaps we should listen to them a little bit more often.  In the rebellion and casting off of traditions we have seen in the last 25 years or so, I have seen a very disturbing trend in this country.  We treat our elderly like they are liabilities, instead of as precious assets who could teach us so much.  Let’s face it, the basics of life haven’t changed that much.  It is always amazing to me when I sit down and talk with someone who has lived a lot of life not only what I can learn, but how they have struggled through many of the same situations I struggle through…making a marriage work, raising children, trusting in God’s sovereignty, standing for Truth.

Yes, they should be precious to us and we cast them aside in our quest for something new and exciting and different.  In my opinion, this is a great tragedy.

2.  If we need to spend time at something in order to be successful at it, wouldn’t that mean the same for studying God’s Word?  Can we really know it if we aren’t studying?  And how can we live a holy life for God if we don’t know what that is?  I would submit to you that the only way to know what pleases our heavenly Father is to spend time in His Word, using reliable resources to help us to interpret it.

We only have one life to live.  And for many of us, we are looking at the word “elderly” and realizing that in just a few short years it will describe us.  May all of us – no matter what age we are — be reading God’s Word and practicing life in such a way that is glorifying our heavenly Father.  If we are reading God’s Word and applying it to our lives, young people will notice.  And if you are reading this as a young person, then remember –there is always someone younger than you watching you.

May we all strive to be godly examples for a generation that seems to have lost its way.  May we be “practicing” life in a manner that shows we are standing on the Solid Rock in the ocean of wishy-washy values and standards we find ourselves in.

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