Wednesday, December 14, 2011

When Repetition isn't Vain

In the New Testament we are warned about using "vain (useless) repetitions." Jesus was referring to people who say the same thing to God over and over again, so much that it becomes just words and is done to impress others (or even God!). But there is a kind of repetition that isn't vain. In fact, it's essential.

I was in a co-worker's office today when I mentioned a concern I was having about some changes that are heading our way at work, uncertainty about what it will all mean, and so forth.  She reminded me that the changes of which I spoke were out of my control, that they had not yet been decided, and that there would be plenty of time to discuss them and deal with them when and if they finally did happen.

It reminded me again of words I often repeat in prayer:  "God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and Wisdom to know the difference."  

Pendant shown at :
Good words. Important words.  And words I forget all too quickly.  

Mentoring and teaching people lately has brought home to me again the benefits of repetition in learning a new skill or a new way of living.  

It's not a sign of low intelligence or of poor moral character when we forget how to do something a new way or when we're unsure how to act in a situation which used to send us to bed with the covers pulled up over our heads. It's a sign we're learning, and we need repetition of the things and principles that matter in order to cement our new skill - or lifestyle - into our minds and/or hearts, as the case may be.  

And whether it's a skill or a lifestyle, one mistake doesn't mean we've failed.  It just means we need more practice, more repetition, in lots of various situations and circumstances, until finally it's the "new normal."  And that is FAR from useless. 

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