When our family moved from southern California to northern Indiana, I joined an indoor tennis league to help me survive winter under the snow belt. I worked with a tennis pro to improve my game. His adjustments on my grip, stand, and swing left me feeling like the rusty Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz — awkward.
The next time I played, my serves and returns shot wild and wide. “I’m so sorry,” I said to my different partners. No one wanted to be paired with me that day.
“You won’t attract new clients with me as your advertisement,” I told my coach.
He smiled. “Keep practicing, and we’ll see.”
I’ll never forget the day the different parts came together into a fluid whole. As we walked off the court one gal said, “Do you realize you won every game today, no matter who you were paired with?”
Considering where I’d started, success tasted especially sweet. Not only did I keep the ball in motion, but I also placed it where I wanted.
Weak knees ended my tennis fun, but the lesson remains. Pushing through awkwardness to learn a new skill brings competence and joy.Pushing through awkwardness to learn a new skill brings #competence and #joy. Click To Tweet
Developing Spiritual Skills
I shared this experience with my Bible study as we began a study on prayer. Some habits serve us. Others create limiting ruts. We hear other’s prayers and envy their ease, but when we try a new stance — to praise, pray out loud in a group, pray in faith — we feel tongue-tied.
Perhaps you’re wanting to grow in a particular area of the faith. Where would you like to become more proficient? Wouldn’t it be fun to see that area grow this summer?
The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:8 NLT).
Resources I’ve Found Helpful
- Defending your faith (1 Pet. 3:15) — Josh McDowell Defends the Christian Faith podcast episode. As a young believer my heart thrilled listening to Josh speak on apologetics. I was delighted when the man who built into my faith endorsed Little Faith, Big God. This is an old recording but very rich. Evidence That Demands a Verdict provides a wealth of research and information.
- Connecting the Old Testament to the New and to future events — The Book of Mysteries (a daily devotional)
- Prayer — Live a Praying Life and Prayer Made Simple
- Bible study — “How to Get More from Your Bible” free resource
- Eternal Perspective — In Light of Eternity and The Treasure Principle
- Healing the past — Be Transformed
- Memorizing Scripture — 100 Bible Verses Everyone Should Know by Heart
- My relationship with the Lord —Experiencing God and Give Yourself a Break
- Sharing your faith — “Sharing Your Faith 101” and “How to Share Your Faith with Your Friends” free resources
- Setting boundaries in relationships — Boundaries
- Spiritual Warfare — The Bondage Breaker and Winning Your Daily Spiritual Battles
- Understanding my identity in Christ — Victory Over the Darkness
- Walking by faith — Little Women, Big God; Little Faith, Big God; and Give Yourself a Break
Knowledge is helpful. But…
Knowledge is helpful. But as you wouldn’t let a surgeon touch you who’d only aced a written test, we need practice to become proficient (Matt. 7:24-27). That means we can celebrate those tongue-tied attempts to share our hearts to a group or our faith to an unbeliever. We’ve stepped out of our rut onto the road of progress.
After discussing the power of praise, our group members trusted the group enough to take turns praising God out loud.
Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.”(Matt. 24:27 NIV).
It’s ok to feel awkward. It’s not ok to let awkward feelings stop our spiritual growth. For unlike tennis skills, spiritual abilities serve us our whole lives, reap benefits in the next, and please God.
It’s ok to feel awkward. It’s not ok to let awkward feelings stop our spiritual growth. #RefreshingFaith, #StartGrowing Click To Tweet
For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come” (1 Tim. 4:8 NIV).
I’d love to hear about the resources and experiences that have benefited you in the comments.
2 Summer Zoom Groups for Women
Our summer online study begins Tuesday June 14th. We’ll meet from 7-8:30 p.m. EST on Zoom. I’ll email the lessons out each week. In light of how our world has walked away from God, we’ll be looking at various Scriptures concerning what it looks like to return to God. Contact meif you can join us.
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