Practice Makes Progress

Archive for all age together

Practice Makes Progress

A Blog from Lindsey Goodyear

My son hates reading.  Well, I take that back… My son hates reading anything that school requires him to read.  The words are too big, the content is too boring, and he can’t ever remember what he’s just read.  We try to stay calm, reassure him, and explain that not only will practicing reading everyday make him a stronger reader, but being a mindful reader (making efforts to focus on what you’re reading while you’re reading) will make homework smoother and more enjoyable.  Twenty minutes a day for at home reading is the requirement.  In and 8-year old’s eyes, 20 minutes a day is an eternity.  Some days we spent double that trying to coax him into it.  I knew if he could just start practicing, every day, like he was supposed to, the routine would be set and our battles would get easier. They say it takes 66 days to form a habit and although I couldn’t imagine having this fight 66 more times, I dug my heels in and committed to routine. 

 To my surprise, it only took a few weeks.  He stopped sounding words out and became more confident with calling them out on the first try.  His choppy accounts of literature became beautiful sentences gliding out of his self-assured mouth.  The coaxing time got less and less and soon he was reading 6 chapters in one sitting.  He wasn’t perfect but the improvement was astounding!  It confirmed, to me, that practice makes progress.  I grew up hearing the phrase “practice makes perfect” but after a discussion with my friend, Roberta, I will now forever say “progress” instead of “perfect.”  Because, in all reality, there is only one who we can call “perfect” so striving for perfectionism is, in actuality, setting ourselves up for disappointment.  So, when a few days ago I watched him begin the third book in a series, I sat thinking how practice really does make progress, when it dawned on me.  I could stand to take a dose of my own advice.  Not all of my daily habits were where they were supposed to be either.  I could use a little practice myself.

Our latest Messy Church was all about praying.  Praying is something I’ve always done, since childhood, but have been slacking on the last couple years.  I always used the evening time to talk with God.  During the day, I would, and still do, say little prayers here and there, but right before I went to sleep was the time I devoted to big concerns, big “thank you’s” and asking for peace.  However, since we’ve had kids, my husband and I take turns each night laying with a son and saying prayers.  I love to listen to their little thoughts and what they decide to chat with Him about.  The only problem is I’ve been passing off their prayer time as my own.  I’ve mentally started checking that prayer box off for the day because I participated with them, right?  Wrong.  While it’s important for us to encourage and teach our children to pray, it’s also equally important for us to establish, feed, and nurture our own personal relationships with God.  He deserves more than what I was giving Him.

Here’s where my own advice comes in.  I need practice.  I need routine.  I need 20 uninterrupted minutes a day with my savior.  I’ve realized it doesn’t have to be at night before I go to sleep.  I remember my father in law telling me he uses his 4-mile daily walk to chat with the Lord.  It got me thinking, although I’m busy running errands, driving kids, cooking, cleaning and whatever else us mom’s do, I also have little pockets of time throughout the day where I can scroll quickly through Facebook, Instagram, or ask Google burning questions.  If I traded out just one of those social media check-ins a day, I could legitimately reignite my passion for prayer.  I’m not perfect so I know it won’t happen overnight, but it will become habit, again, if I put the effort in.  So, that’s it.  Practice makes progress.  I’m determined to direct that progress straight towards my relationship with God and to make those glorious conversations part of my routine once again.                      

Lindsey Goodyear
Contact her at lindseygoodyear@gmail.com
Equipping local Messy Churches to start, sustain and connect in the USA.

Messy Church International Conference Reflection: What Now?

Part 1 of 4

Roberta J. Egli

 

Exploring London via google maps
L-R, Marty Drake, Roberta Egli, Lynn Egli, Leyla Wagner

Leyla and I looked on a bit helplessly as the train we had just boarded to Broxbourne station; the stop for the conference center of the (MCIC)  2019 event, left the station with two of our traveling companions (Marty and Lynn) left standing on the platform.  We had navigated the labyrinth of the London tube from the airport to the hotel, we had gotten lost while following the directions of google maps through London the day before, we had found our way back to the tube station the morning of the conference where it took several attempts to add money to our oyster cards, (btw- we added way too much money!) and had successfully made tube line transfers to the train station where we got separated when the door of the train shut after I got on the train and we could not get the door back open.   

What now? Yes, I admit there was a brief moment of panic but after a few text messages, we realized that Leyla and I simply needed to proceed to the Broxbourne station and then wait for Marty and Lynn to catch the train. When they arrived about twenty minutes after us, they had already made friends with another MCIC delegate from Scotland with whom we shared a taxi to the conference center.


I have now returned home following an inspiring four days with over 200 delegates from all over the world. The conference was filled with excitement and we heard many stories of how Messy Church has changed individual lives of the leaders of Messy Church and the communities of faith where they serve. I find myself asking again…what now?


The idea of Messy Church USA was birthed at the 2016 MCIC. Over three years we have worked together to create something new. We have formed a Board of Directors and became a separate nonprofit entity with a signed agreement with Bible Reading Fellowship (BRF) to be the home for Messy Church in the USA.


We have developed strategic plans and three year goals for our future. However, as I was reminded by our travel experience, I know there are and will be times when our reality will not follow our neatly drafted plans. Rather than panicking or doubting our plans, we are called to trust the leading of the Spirit and adjust. Discerning the leading of the Spirit is an adventure to live into. I pray that we will have the grace to move forward with a sense of curiosity, discovery and a sense of play. My question for you… How have you trusted the Spirit at your Messy Church within the past two months as you have needed to adjust your plans?

Look for three more reflections from my experience at MCIC over the next two weeks.

Messy Blessings,

Roberta 

Burning Bush
Messy Church Experience, Messy Church International Conference