As children, we were told to practice. We practiced everything: soccer, piano, typing, reading, drawing, swimming and chewing with our mouths closed. We watched our parents throw baseballs or do cartwheels across the yard, and we wanted to do it just like them. It looked so effortless! So we practiced. We hurled baseballs at trees and chanted “hand, hand, foot, foot” as we tumbled around in the grass. And you know what? It worked. Because practice works.

You want to become a better cook? Cook more. A better writer? Write more.

And yet, as adults, it seems we’ve lost the art of practice. How many times this week have you heard:

“I’m just not a patient person.”

“I have no self-control.”

“I’m not good at holding my tongue.”

As if there’s no chance it could ever get better? What’s more: how many times have you said them?

As adults, we get settled in our ways. We know we should be kind, joyful, full of grace and self-control—but we start to view those things as binary. We see them as things we either are or aren’t.

Jesus tells us time and time again in scripture how to be more like Him. He tells us to be courageous, forgiving, slow to anger. But we’re like children: we need to practice.

I’m learning to carve out time— real time—to practice the things that Jesus calls me to be. I deeply desire to be a wife full of grace, a mom full of joy and a woman of God overflowing with kindness. So I’m going to keep practicing prayer, keep practicing love, and keep practicing joy, like a kid doing endless cartwheels on a glorious summer night. And by the goodness and grace of God, I’m going to get better.

This was originally written by Brooke Mousetis and published as a devotional in the Anchored Press Devotional Planner.