Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Practice Makes Perfect

A few weeks ago I came across some notes from a talk titled "Practice Makes Perfect" that my priest gave years ago. In it, he outlines 8 things we should aggressively practice on a daily basis in order to draw closer to God. It was such a powerful list, and I found myself thinking about it constantly. I wanted to find a practical and concrete way to remind myself of these things each morning, in hopes of making progress. What I came up with was a small journal listing each practice and an appropriate scripture or prayer. Then, each morning when I awoke, I could read through and dedicate my day to the practice of these things. Some of them I can do as I read through (forgiveness), others are a reminder for how to approach others throughout the day. So, here is how my journal turned out - and it sits next to my bed so I can pick it up and look through it before I even get out of bed each morning.
The cover - found it in the scrapbook aisle of Hobby Lobby - under $5.
This scripture is a reminder of the purpose of this book - trying to grow closer to God, allowing Him to make me new. It is also a reminder that I need not dwell on yesterday's failings, but remember that each day begins new.

Thankfulness: our first concious thought of the day should be to thank God for life.

Acceptance: not as fatalism, but as trust in God that He has placed us where He wants us.

Cherishing Life: slow down, appreciate life. Don't take for granted the moment by moment experiences.
Forgiveness: start each morning by taking an inventory - forgive and let it go!

Compassion: do not try to shield ourselves or our children from the suffering of others, cultivate true compassion.

Kindness: speak and be courteous to those we meet throughout the day, for we are all made in the image of God.

Joy: externals and feelings are not validators of our life, we choose how we react to all circumstances, choose to be joyful.

Peace: Pursue peace, not strife. Speak kind words, and intercede on behalf of the world
"In peace let us pray to the Lord."

Another passage on peace and a verse from a favorite hymn from my non-Orthodox past :)
Finally, I completed my book with one of my favorite morning prayers.
I chose the butterfly stickers because of their link to the resurrection and renewal of life - a reminder that each of us will be made new in Christ - and because they make me smile when I look at them!
(a note for non-Orthodox readers, all verse references are according to the Orthodox Study Bible, in other Bibles the Psalms will be one Psalm number higher)


elizabeth said...

Lovely. Thanks for sharing this.

Irina said...

I love it

DebD said...

This is so nice! I especially love the book cover and am thinking of how I can get one for myself. :)

Marie said...

Really beautiful...and such a nice way to start the day!

Xeneteia said...

Would you be able to share the 8 things that your priest outlined in his talk? It sounds like a wonderful homily - I enjoyed the post. Thanks

Anonymous said...

What is the font that you used in the 8 things scrap book?

Anonymous said...

What is the font that you used on your 8 things scrapbook?

Anonymous said...

What is the FONT that you used on your lovely 8 things scrapbook?

Anna said...

Anna Seraphima - the font is Loved by the King, I downloaded it from dafont.com