practicing the imperfect

It’s all just practice.

None of this is performance, this work of parenting. Despite my dark moments of self-defeating thoughts to the contrary, no one is watching me with a clipboard, making sure I don’t screw up or that my kids turn out according to someone’s standard of perfect.

blog-008It’s all just practice.

And practice takes time. Years. Sweat. Tears. Those crucible moments when you’re so tired and frustrated you want to scream and give up.

But you don’t. You keep practicing. And things slowly change over time.

The instrument becomes easier to play – and becomes part of you.

The sport changes your body in powerful ways – and becomes part of you.

The play allows you to understand your own life as you act – and becomes part of you.

Every day I wake up and start practicing parenting again: caring and forgiving and teaching and serving. Over time it becomes part of me.

Practice changes us, if we stick with it.

This morning I’m guest posting over at Practicing Families. On practicing a life of faith with kids, and all the messiness and faltering and second-guessing it entails:

The old adage wags its finger at me that “practice makes perfect.” Just like the line from Matthew’s Gospel—“Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect”—that makes me cringe at the ideals that fall far short of my life’s messy reality. But I know there’s deeper truth to the good of practice. It makes our muscles strong. It trains our thinking. It strengthens our resolve.

For this family, practice will always be imperfect. We will show up to church five minutes late. We will not always pay attention. We will sometimes skip out after communion when the kids are just too cranky. But next Sunday we will try all over again.

We’re practicing.

Click over to Practicing Families to read the rest…

The Christian life is about practice, not performance – and thank God for that, because we’d all come up short. But the practice that matters is receiving grace in ordinary moments and sharing love in return.

What are you practicing today? What part of parenting is finally starting to feel easier, and what part is more challenging than ever?

7 thoughts on “practicing the imperfect

  1. Great blog! Today I am practicing “understanding” for a particular situation we are dealing with. But the part of parenting I am finally starting to feel get easier is grace. What’s challenging is trusting that everything will really work out.

  2. Love tuis perspective. Like an athlete pondering the latter years of her career, I’m realizing that I’m 2/3 of the way done with my intense, daily parenting workouts (14 years in, 7 to go). What does one do after this? Will the muscles atrophy? Will I forget the lessons learned? It’s a scary prospect…but in understanding my daily work as practice, it relieves the pressure of the parenting World Series…

  3. i remember that in genesis- god said it was good- not perfect. that is what i try to remember in my daily life of work, vocation, laughter, tears.

  4. My spouse and I were talking about this today after a tough car ride. Practicing the things to say, the ways to respond, the things to learn. Thank you. –Wendy

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