Practice might not make perfect… but it certainly can shape a soul.
A few years ago, author/journalist David Brooks wrote a short piece about the way baseball has “hacked the human brain.” Showing up early for a baseball game, he saw a 38-year-old major league player running drills at first base; the same drills 6-10 year old kids will be running soon as Little League starts up and the same drills that pro player had been doing since he was in Little League.
Why, thought Brooks, would a pro athlete need to run the same drills as Little Leaguers, over and over again, day after day, for three decades?
Here’s why: when a baseball comes off a bat in a major league game, it can be going upwards of 100mph. And if you’re only standing 90ft away with that ball heading your way, you don’t have time to think about what you’re going to do; you just have to react, instinctively. The only way to train your body/mind to react that quickly is to practice, over and over, until the posture, the steps, the movements become natural.
In baseball terms, coaches talk about “muscle memory.” As a pastor/artist, I’m focused on soul memory.
Real talk: Life comes at you and I a lot faster than 100mph at times. And when it does, I don’t want to have to think about whether or not I can depend on God. I don’t want to have to figure out, in that moment, how to talk to Him about what’s happening in or around me. I want to be practiced at it. I want my body, mind and spirit to shift into a posture of trust and hope.
Lent begins one week from today. Do you have a practice plan?
If you’re looking for one, I’d be happy to help. Along with making the Prayer book available, I’ll be emailing folks on my list with a few insights, reflections and practices throughout the Lenten Season. You can add yourself here.