Verses for Reflection:
“And let perseverance be perfect, so that you may be perfect and complete.” (James 1)
“Be Kind to me, Lord, and I shall live.” (Psalm 119)
Last Thursday night was Taekwondo class for me and my classmates and during that night we all participated in an act of faith. Our instructor invited us to trust him, invited us to persevere as he taught us the difficult kicks that continued to scare us – the turn kick, spinning back hook kick, hook kick, jumping back kick. Now from the very first day I started taking Taekwondo I dreaded the day that I would be a Blue Belt as I am now, because of the kicks that I have to do to pass my higher belt testing. The most frightening of all for me was the spinning back hook kick, wherein I have to spin a complete 360 degrees, while executing a back hook kick halfway before completing the turn, and having to hit the target spot on to be able to break it. I thought in fear and kept my mind trapped into thinking that I would never be able to do it. I secretly practiced it though in all the two years I dreaded doing it in front of everybody. I watched others do it and I thought I was seeing what I ought to saw. But every time I tried, I would end up not doing it right. That Thursday night, our instructor asked each one of us if we could do the spinning back hook kick. If someone said yes, he would ask the student to execute the kick. All of those who said yes did make the kick with confidence. A few got it correctly, but most of those who said yes, and kicked with confidence, ended up not doing right –they thought they no longer needed help but actually did.
When it was my turn, I told the instructor that I did not know how to do it so he told me, “watch as I do it,” and he broke the steps into individual movements. Afterwards I would imitate what he did, except that I kept doing it wrong. He thought for a few moments, and then he started doing just the first three moves – turn around, raise kicking leg, and then kick – and asked me to watch closely. I truly did, and I believed I truly saw all the moves I had to do, but I ended up still not being able to raise my leg high enough to kick. I was definitely missing something. But he kept repeating the first three moves and I kept watching, and finally I saw the little difference that mattered a lot – he turned his right shoulder a few more inches to the left than I would with my right shoulder – and that made all the difference in how faster and higher he would kick.
That night we agreed to persevere because our instructor told us that he wanted us to be perfect in our kicks and that it is possible to be perfect, if only we persevered. For almost an hour we did what he said and kept on jumping, kept on spinning until we got so dizzy that, after dismissal, we all had to sit awhile to get our equilibrium back. But during that night, the two parties involved – our instructor and ourselves – agreed to persevere with and in each other in faith and openness.
What happened that Thursday night led me to reflect on how patient and understanding our Heavenly Father must be as we continue to struggle and come to terms with trusting Him, as we strive to be holy.
Lord, be kind to us.
If we could believe fellow creatures like us as they exhort us to be perfect in any human pursuit, be kind to us, Lord, whenever we fail to trust Your exhortation to persevere for the perfection that reaps eternal reward. Lord, be kind to us, as we trust humans more or as we trust more our thinking rather than be open and obedient to what you say. Lord, be kind to us that, while we believe other humans when they tell us that we will be the best and we can be the best, we do not give to you this same openness to believe when You tell us that we can be perfect and that we actually will be perfected in the realm that matters most, a mirror image of You. Be kind to us, Lord, that while we give other human beings our trust over and over even while they fail us, we are afraid to trust you and we are afraid to step out into the deep with you, or afraid to just be still in Your hands and surrender all control to You and let you be the author of our lives – You who never fails, You who never stops loving, You whose one consuming desire is to give us peace that is beyond all troubles and understanding.
Thank you for being kind to us, Lord, and being patient. Help us accept the beautiful wonder that we can all make our perseverance perfect by allowing You not only to listen to our groans, our pain and our suffering, but most importantly, give us the grace to let us listen to you, and let you direct our steps.