First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men… 1 Timothy 2:1
My boys have terrible handwriting. The more dull the pencil, the sloppier their work. It drives me nuts! I’m one of those perfectionists who believes that you should take pride in whatever you do, make it look the best you can.
I know this is going to sound crazy, but we had a huge pencil sharpener issue in my house. I bought sharpener after sharpener: electric ones, battery operated ones, even those little seasonally themed ones. No matter what I bought, we broke one pencil tip after the other, in succession, and then broke each sharpener. Although it sounds utterly trivial, a sharpened pencil is critical to homework; otherwise it’s like a carpenter trying to build without a hammer.
What I longed for was one of those wall mounted, manual pencil sharpeners that you crank, like we had when I was a kid. It was mounted on the wall leading to our basement. That thing lasted for decades, and sharpened pencils so pointy, you could puncture your sister’s arm with them (I’m not saying I ever did this, it’s just a visual to illustrate the point :).
In today’s day and age, with the internet, you can get just about anything you need with just a few clicks on your computer. But rather than taking matters into my own hands, I remained passive. Instead, I complained about it until my kids were sick of hearing it.
I wish I could say the pencil sharpener issue is the only thing I procrastinated about fixing. I’ve got a list a mile long of the character traits I have that have disappointed me for years. I’ve got another list of hopes and dreams I have for myself and my kids that I haven’t taken action on. I’ve got things tugging on my mind, whispers of issues vying for my attention that I’ve been ignoring, in hopes they solve themselves. I lecture my kids almost daily that nothing comes easy; that there’s no such thing as “free lunch;” that they have to work for what they want. But here I sit, letting cobwebs grow on the things in my life that need work.
God and prayer are like the internet and Amazon. If I plug in to God in prayer, even if it is just for five minutes a day, asking for His help with my hopes and dreams, issues and bad character traits, He’s always there for me. The amazing thing is, when I do include Him, whatever needs to be done is never as hard as I think it will be. He’s the heavy lifter in the equation. He always helps me make “imperfect progress.” And consistent imperfect progress beats no progress any day.
I read a story on Anne Voskamp’s blog about a 61 year old sheep farmer who showed up at an 875 kilometer race in Australia. He was dressed in overalls with galoshes over his work boots to run a race that takes a week to complete. While all the other professional athletes ran with long and fast strides, Cliff Young shuffled along all day. And at night, while the other athletes slept, he continued to shuffle. Not only did Cliff win that race, he set a world record! Moreover, runners across the world now copy the “Young Shuffle” because it is more energy efficient.
We all know the fable of The Tortoise And The Hare with the coined phrase of “slow and steady wins the race.” Cliff Young proved that to be true. Even if our increments of time in prayer are small, if they too are steady and consistent, we too can triumph over our own personal struggles.
Questions For Reflection:
* What problems or issues have I been avoiding in hopes they will solve themselves?
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