Psalm 42:8 – By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me — a prayer to the God of my life. (NIV)
I am learning to play the guitar and it's difficult. When I first began, my fingertips hurt, my thumb cramped, and it sounded terrible. The piece I was learning was supposed to be simple, but to me it was the Mount Everest of music. I plunked away at it; every chord seemed to require a contortionist's skill. It galled me that the very title of the work was "12 Easy Pieces" (thankfully my teacher gave me only one of the 12 pieces). I would see other guitar players at church or at the local farmer's market breeze through songs with style and grace, making chord changes that didn't seem to require any thought or concentration. Beautiful melodies would pour out of their guitars, and I wanted to be able to do that too. Inspired, I would come home and pull out "Easy" and again try to make the thing sing. There were times when I was so frustrated that I considered quitting. There are still times when I let my guitar sit dormant for days on end.
Fortunately, I have a good guitar teacher who understands and encourages me. One day when I was moaning about how slow I was learning and making excuses about my lack of practice, he said something that has stuck with me and made a big impact not only on my desire to play the guitar, but on my Christian walk as well: "It's all about consistency." If I want to be good at anything, I must do it regularly, consistently. After I let go of my complaints that I would never be good enough and instead concentrated on the "Easy" piece in front of me, I realized that I was playing better than I did a month before. And a month from now I'll play better than I do today, provided I make the guitar a regular habit. The progress is too slow to see on a day-to-day basis, but in hindsight, I know I keep getting better every day. And best of all, what I once called "practice" I now call "play."
Whenever I'm frustrated in my Christian walk and start comparing myself with others or wishing I were some kind of spiritual giant, I remember that statement, "It's all about consistency." When we concentrate on the piece that is in front of us, called "today," we can know that with practice and the Spirit's help, we're getting better day by day.
Prayer: Thank you Lord, that You are our teacher. Thank You that You give us just enough for each day and that You help us day by day. Amen.