Tuesday’s Torch 539
June 4, 2019
Maya Angelou said that “When you know better you do better.” That’s a very true statement. Years ago I was a competitive horseshoe pitcher. I would go outside and pitch for hours sometimes. Striving to do better and develop the muscle memory it takes to compete at a high level.
It wasn’t easy and I was never the absolute best, but I won often enough and claimed some championships that I look back on fondly. But what I realized is that the saying “practice makes perfect” had a flaw. If you’re making the same mistake over and over during practice, what are you accomplishing? Do you really want that muscle memory? So no, the saying I developed was “Perfect practice makes perfect.” I strived to make my practice as much like a real game as possible.
When my focus was there and I was performing really well then I would push myself and practice for a long time. If I was performing lousy and just couldn’t get it going, I would shorten that practice. Eventually I built a lot more consistency doing it that way. I know this little story is a bit off topic and not quite the norm for my oft-times preachy Torch offerings but don’t worry, I’ll get to that shortly. Haha.
As it relates to the quote I started this message with. When I first started playing horseshoes I wasn’t very good at it because I didn’t know what I was doing yet. But the more I learned and the more I practiced, the better I did. In other aspects of my life I had issues and problems that I saw no way past. Until I learned how to get past them.
Sometimes there are tools and skills that need to be acquired to accomplish a task. You can’t go into an advanced science course and expect to do well if you haven’t completed the prerequisites. There are things you must learn before you can tackle that level of difficulty.
You cannot do something you don’t know how to do. Plenty of people are out there praying for blessings but unaware that maybe they need to act. They need to do something. They pray for a good job yet aren’t improving their skills? They pray for a raise but then give half-effort at their job. They pray that they can overcome an addiction but don’t seek help for recovery? That won’t cut it.
Even if your desire is righteous. Wanting it is not enough. Learn how. And then do it! I’ll quote the following verse that I feel sums up another side to this feeling I’m trying to convey in my own unorthodox way. 1 Corinthians 13:11 states: When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”
Verses can mean different things to us at different points in our lives which is one of the amazing aspects of the scriptures. But right here I feel like the verse expresses someone who has now learned better and therefore does better. Growth isn’t just about age or size. There comes a time where all of us have to grow up in the Gospel. A time when we need to put in the hard work to get where we want or need to be. We have to learn more to do better.
If everything were easy we couldn’t grow. And we are to grow. We are expected to strive to become as much like the Savior as possible. To receive his image in our countenance will require more than just doing what we can currently do. We need to grow, we need to learn and we need to seek to know How to do the righteous things that we may see as impossible.
Over the past year I’ve worked really hard to learn how to do some things I never thought would be possible to achieve. That’s not a brag or a boast. In fact it is the opposite, it’s extremely humbling to see exactly how much help I needed and need. Coming to terms with weakness and realizing we need the strength that comes from the Lord is difficult. Especially for someone that wants to be able to do everything themselves. From the time I was a little boy my parents called me mr independent because I refused to accept help. That’s not me anymore. I needed it. I’m not too proud to say that.
As for why I mention that. I’m not trying to make myself into a role model but I’m also not trying to put myself down either, I’m trying to say that if I can do it, so can you. So that thing you’re having a hard time overcoming or that righteous desire that you feel is unreachable. Find the help required to accomplish it. You can’t do anything without knowing how. Unless you’re gonna rely on pure luck, in that case just cross your fingers and hope for the best. But that isn’t what we are expected to do.
So to all who hear this message. Please know that you can accomplish great things. You can learn better, know better, do better and be better. Nothing is impossible with Christ on your side. Let the Atonement work in your life. Learn and grow. I pray that this message has been able to help you in some way. I pray that you can find answers and help and that when you do, you can put them to work in your life to become who you are capable of becoming. God bless each of you in the Sacred name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
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