A Safe Place to Practice

This post previously appeared here.  But now that I have my own blog, I wanted a version right here.

In sports, in music, in art, in science, we practice, practice, practice.  Yet, in our effort to master the art of living in the way of Jesus, we somehow lose sight of the need for practice.

Practice, by definition, assumes we will mess up.  (How liberating!)  It assumes that mistakes will happen and that we will learn from those mistakes.  Yet, in so many basic life skills, in so many relational situations, in so many hopeful endeavors, we leave little room for mistakes.  We leave little room both for ourselves and for others to make mistakes.

This is somewhat of a tragedy because the process of becoming fully human, of mastering the art of living like the Fully Human One, first requires the acknowledgement that we are not fully human at the present time.  It requires us to be okay with not being competent even though “always being competent” is an image that so very many of us try to project.

“Always being competent” cannot be an expectation when trying to master the art of living in the way of Jesus.  And quite frankly, that’s a lot to give up for most of us.  We are sons of Adam and daughters of Eve.  That is, we like to hide our full nakedness.  (Genesis 3:8-10) We don’t like being fully exposed, imperfections and all.

Ironically, it’s in that exposure that we become whole, or at least, stand the best chance of becoming whole.  It’s as we take on our lack of wholeness that we learn to be more fully alive as God intended.  Practice is the process of taking that on.  Practice assumes it is safe to fail because practice assumes we’re not perfect, but we want to get better.  We want to grow.

I have to wonder:

Do I create an environment for myself where it is safe for me to make mistakes?

Do I create environments for others where it is safe for them to make mistakes and they are encouraged in their failing?

The truth is, I am inspired by people that make it safe for me to make mistakes.  My life is so greatly enriched by those who realize that my relational skills are not polished because I am in practice.  They help me see that I am maturing, not mature (and not immature).  They love me so much that they coach me through my mistake rather than condemning me, judging me, or writing me off because of the relational letdown.  Through them, I become more fully human as Jesus intended … and I love them for it.

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