“Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadow-boxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.” -1 Corinthians 9:24-27
This morning my friend Rachel and I were listening to a sermon, and the pastor talked about his experience with a music teacher. This teacher pushed him to the maximum, suggesting that he practice six hours a day and never giving him compliments. He went to his teacher one day and said, “This is impossible! Who has six hours a day just to sing?” to which his teacher responded, “Those who want to be the best.” Because he was a busy student, he was only able to practice two to three hours every day, but was pretty proud of his accomplishment. After a year of this rigorous schedule, he built up the courage to ask his teacher how much he had advanced, expecting to receive a compliment. Instead, his teacher asked him a question, “You play soccer, right?” “Yes.” “When did you first start to play soccer?” The student thought for a second and quickly responded, “I was seven years old.” “How good were you in soccer when you were seven years old?” The teacher asked. “I was pretty bad.” The student responded. “Well, there is your answer,” the teacher said, but quickly added, “Before you get discouraged by that answer, you should know that singing is an endless frontier. You can never arrive at knowing everything about it. You may be ahead of 99% of the people in the world, but you have never arrived at knowing or being everything.”
That interchange has stuck with me: “This is impossible! Who has six hours a day just to sing?” “Those who want to be the best.” I think about my life and how so often I live surviving from one day to the next. However, what are the things that I want to truly excel in? I can think of a few: my relationship with Jesus, writing, photography, creating memories, being the best wife ever someday, being a true encourager, etc. Each one of these things is an endless frontier of discovery and growth. How much time each day do I dedicate to each of these things? If I truly want to “be the best” that I can be at these things, I need to make it a goal and a passion to dive into them, face the hard facts about where I fall short, and continue to perfect my skills.
That is my challenge to you today: How are you working to be the best you can be with your skills and passions? How have you ordered your time around that? Be blessed today!