First Steps

It’s  really not hard to reach 300 words if I just start clicking keys.  I used to tell my high school students this.  I would put a prompt on the screen in my classroom and tell them they had ten minutes to fill a page.

Most of my students could easily fill a page (or two or three) in ten minutes, others routinely struggled to put down two lines.  Was it because they didn’t have anything to say?  Not likely — teenagers have lots on their minds. Was it because they had difficulty forming sentences? Probably not, because I had no requirements for spelling, grammar, punctuation, or syntax during free writes.  More often than not, if a student didn’t fill a page in the allotted time, it was because she had difficulty putting the first few words on the page.

It’s not too different from running.  If you want to run a 5k, you have got to first pull on your shoes and get out the door.  Nothing happens until you move your feet and take step after step after step.  The first few steps might take a sheer act of the will, but once the muscles start moving, they actually find comfort in the repetition, the movement, the rhythm.  That comfort somehow morphs into a sense of determination when the first mile is covered, “I think I can actually do this!” The arms pump to encourage the legs along; the mind travels down the halls of memory, sorting and filing images that lay strewn on the floor.  Suddenly, as though no time has passed, the finish line appears.

All is euphoric — applause and bagels and brand new t-shirts.

Until the next morning when you’re lying in bed thinking, “Ugh, do I really want to do that again today?” Then, with a sheer act of the will, you drag yourself from beneath the covers, tie on your shoes, and shove yourself back out the door.

 

James 1:4

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

 

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