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_sweet_home 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