Practice: the Difference between the Ordinary and the Extraordinary
“Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress.” (1 Timothy 4:15 ESV)
Single Figures Takes Big Effort
Many years ago, I used to eat, sleep, and drink golf. I loved anything having to do with playing golf. For those who know the sport, at one stage, I was a relatively low, single-figure handicap player! That takes a lot of time and effort.
Golf Takes a Lot of Practice & Also a Great Spouse!
It took hours and hours of practice and many lessons with golf pros to produce a level of golf where I could play reasonably well. Oh yes, what added to my ability to achieve this coveted score was a very patient and understanding wife who loved me and allowed me to play! Wow, I never really knew how blessed I was, but I do now! She is amazing and has always been. She’s been especially patient when it came to my quirky ways and obsession with the sport. Have any of you readers experienced an obsession with sports to this degree? If you have, then you know what I am talking about.
Can’t Hit For Toffee
I have to admit though, golf is one of the most frustrating sports on the planet to gain a level of consistency that allows you to play well and to gain some kudos from other players. It’s a very humbling sport too! One day on the course, everything seemed to be playing out like clockwork, and yet the next time I couldn’t hit a thing for toffee! Now that’s a colloquial English expression from the mid-1890s if you have not heard it before. It means that someone is so incompetent at something that if toffee or nuts were the prize, they couldn’t perform well enough to win. We know that there are much higher prizes in life, so winning for toffee is just a starting point.
Practice Does Not Always Mean Perfect, But it Does Build Consistency
However, in my case, with practice, and more practice, and with lessons from professional golf instructors, I started to gain a level of consistency that I was happy with on more days than not. I’d like you to consider something—this is the same for anything we do in life. It takes tenacity, dedication, and work to gain momentum and to carry on what we feel we have been called to do or have a passion for.
Change of Focus – An Eternal Perspective
I am so pleased to say that my passion has changed considerably over the years and now my focus and my heart is set on practicing to hear God’s voice in different ways and in different seasons. Why? Because I want to carry on practicing what I have learned over the years: to become better and more consistent at hearing what He is saying. I do this not only for myself, but more importantly, to teach, coach, and share with others how to reveal God’s heart and words to other people. This is because people are eternal, and their lives are far worthier of our attention than me trying to perfect my game of golf!
Lack of Practice Means Lack of Consistency
These days I rarely play golf, but I do enjoy the times when I do. But talk about being all over the golf course, one shot going in one direction and the next shot in the opposite direction. Or, if I’m really playing badly, the ball may scuff along the floor by a 100ft! Either way, it’s not pretty. My consistency with the game is gone, as I don’t bother practicing anymore.
Don’t Allow The Same To Happen With Your Relationship with God
This is the same with anything we put our hands or minds to. And it will probably be said of our relationship with God if we don’t spend time with Him and allow other things to encroach on us. Then when some circumstantial crisis happens, we find ourselves in a place of complete inconsistency, although we may have peace knowing He will bring us through. Unfortunately, if we continue on this way, we can end up being all over the place, and in the worse of cases, crash and bumble along until we finally end up in a heap on the floor.
It’s Not All About Me…
The only reason I am not consistent now with my golf swing, is my focus has changed from a place of “it’s all about me”, to a place of wanting to know more about the things of God and to give that back out to others. This is something that truly brings me passion, purpose, and a fulfills my life. I am no longer chasing after trivial things. (1 Corinthians 1:27-28)
Time For God, Time For You
It takes setting time aside for a relationship with God and to practice how to know His ways and His voice. It’s the only way you should want to live because it’s the only way to become consistent.
Decide to Make the Shift Today
So today, start to think about what it is to become consistent. Decide to make the shift to what is important to you and remember it takes time, patience, and practice!