I have a confession to make:
I’m writing this on Monday night. I mean, it will post on Tuesday, if only for the sake of alliteration, but still. Technically, this is a Testimony Monday. That just doesn’t sound as good.
I have another confession to make:
I’ve been pretty bad about going to church lately.
Oddly enough — or, perhaps, not oddly at all — that second confession is a little bit harder for me to make. Because, of course, that’s not how it’s supposed to be. That’s not part of the image I’m trying to create for myself, but I’ve realized that upholding that “perfect, churchgoing” image can be just as dangerous as anything we idolize. In fact, it can probably be more so, because I’m idolizing that perception of myself. I’m idolizing a falsehood that I’m portraying. I’m idolizing someone that, quite frankly, I’m just not.
So, it’s time to put an end to that. It’s time to ‘fess up.
I’m not perfect. In fact, I’m far from it. I don’t go to church every Sunday; in fact, more often than not, I’ll go to teach my favorite kiddos, and then head home, because those energetic 5-year-olds just completely wipe me out. I stopped going to small group, partly because I moved further away and partly because it started to feel like more of a social obligation than a spiritual one, and something about that caused some anxiety. I’m really good at going through guided Bible studies for a couple of weeks, but then I usually let it fall to the wayside. I’m notorious for letting life get in the way of my relationship with the Lord, all in the name of “experiencing His blessings.” And while I do firmly believe there is some truth to that, I also recognize that one of His greatest blessings is our relationship with Him, and it’s probably time that I start to prioritize that, as well.
However, I was reading a devotional this morning (another thing I will probably be really great about doing for a couple of weeks or so, and then I’ll choose to sleep in an extra five minutes… however, I really love this devotional book that the boy’s mom gave me for my birthday, so I’m determined to make it a habit). That devotional was titled so simply, and yet it struck me so deeply:
Keep on practicing.
And it went on to say, basically, that our relationship with God isn’t about being perfect. It’s about being consistent. It’s about continuously practicing, continuously slipping up, and continuously humbling ourselves to start over again. And that’s okay. In fact, that’s the point.
My favorite line was this:
“Remember, practice comes before perfect — and perfect will come when you’re standing with Him in heaven.”
Oh, how encouraging that was to read! Oh, how much I desperately needed those words! Oh, how incredibly thankful I am that they came at this time!
I always look at birthdays as a time to refresh, reflect, and realign my goals (but more on that later…) and while I already knew that one of my goals for the year would be to work more at my relationship with God, reading a confirmation that He is ready and willing and waiting for that was so heartwarming. It was one of those things that, yeah, I knew, but I didn’t know. I unknowingly needed that confirmation, and the Lord provided it to me, right as I needed it most.
Funny how that works, isn’t it?
So, this testimony is less of a testimony and more of me taking the time to step out and encourage you, too. If you’re faltering or questioning or just feeling a little stuck, keep practicing. Even if it’s not a faith-based situation, but especially if it is, keep practicing. Sometimes, when we’re in too deep, that’s really all we can do.
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap,
if we do not give up.
– Galatians 6:9
In other words: practice makes perfect (someday… in the kingdom of heaven.)
ps: in case you’re curious, the devotional I’m reading is “he restores my soul.”