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Practice

Last month, I participated in a challenge to write on my blog daily, on a specific topic, as part of #Write31Days. Throughout the month, I managed to only miss one day, and the activity has become a part of my evening routine. I’m looking forward to November with a little bit of trepidation. Without the challenge going, I’m afraid I won’t write every day. Even though I hit rough patches from time to time when it was hard to think of something to write, overall I enjoyed the challenge. It greased my writing wheels and gotten me into a habit of putting ink to paper—or digital text to screen.

Merriam-Webster’s full definition of “practice” puts as the primary definition the concept of performing an action customarily, habitually. I was surprised by that. I would have expected the secondary definition to be first—the one that talks about repeating something to become proficient at it. But instead, “practice” is defined as a custom, a habit.

In October, writing became, in that sense of the word, a “practice.” I want to keep going at it because it has formed a rhythm in my life. In 31 days, I developed paths and patterns in my time to accommodate a new practice that was previously sporadic.

As I’ve seen this develop, I’ve begun to wonder what other practices I could instill in my life. I know that as we enter November I’m going to start to see daily posts on Facebook about being thankful.

Perhaps that’s a place for me to start. I may not post it on Facebook, but I could begin to practice gratitude: daily taking the time to thank God for His blessings in my life. It’s so easy to focus on our problems or the pain and suffering among our friends and in the world around us, but the practice of gratitude would keep me focused on God, recognizing that “every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change” (James 1:17).

I know that as we move from November into December, there will be posts about serving and giving to the needy. I could practice giving, based in the riches I’ve thanked God for throughout November. That may be financial gifts, or maybe it will be giving of my time and energy. But to give cheerfully is honoring to God (2 Cor. 9:7).

As I move forward into the next 31, 62, 93 days, I hope that the lessons I learned in this 31 Day Writing Challenge spill over into building new practices, new routines, new habits that become a part of the fabric of my days and enrich the lives around me.

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