Inspired by the writing of St. John Paul II, Sheri Wohlfert encourages us to practice something we don't often think about.
He must increase, I must decrease. (John 3:30)
One of the many things I miss now that the Wohlfert house is so quiet is practice. For more than a decade and a half there was always some kind of practice going on. It didn’t matter if it was reading, math facts, band, sports or even target practice for hunting season, it seemed like somebody was always practicing something.
There is nothing more humbling than a good hard practice at whatever it is you are trying to get better at. The problem was nobody really enjoyed practice ... except me. I loved seeing my kids work hard, sweat, be frustrated, and eventually trade in frustration for sheer determination. Practice is good for you no matter what it’s for, but human nature leads us to desire perfection or success without the work.
Stop for a minute and think of something you need to practice. A little tricky, wasn’t it? If you had a hard time coming up with something to practice I’ve got just the thing. I was reading in a prayer book the other day and came across a fabulous one-liner that was too good to keep to myself. Before you read it though, I want you to think for another minute about three things you’ve been frustrated about recently. If my guess is correct, at least two of the things that frustrated you involved another person. So much of our negative energy stems from a reaction or comment or behavior from another person that doesn’t line up with our personal expectations or desires. In the spirit of being frustrated with others and tugging along the negative energy that goes with it, here is that great thought I promised:
We all need to practice the art of self-forgetfulness! (Pope John Paul II)
Holy cow … how’s that for a showstopper? I think maybe we spend so much time worrying and fussing about how other people see, value, appreciate and honor us that we lose track of the only desire we should be motivated by: pleasing God. If I were to forget my own desires and comforts more often, I think I would certainly have more time for faithfulness. If I stopped worrying about who saw me do what or who noticed this or that I wouldn’t have anything to be disappointed about when others didn’t register the “wonder and awe” I thought I deserved. I don’t know about you, but I think I just found my new thing to practice … thinking about the Father more and myself less.
The art of self-forgetfulness isn’t something our culture promotes, but since when does our culture promote things that will get us to heaven? I think I’m gonna go with JPII on this one and get my “self-forgetfulness” in motion. How about you … are you up for some tough practice?
A Seed To Plant: This week when you feel frustrated, stop and ask yourself if you are practicing the art of self-forgetfulness. Get ready for some good hard practice!
Blessings on your day!
Copyright 2021 Sheri Wohlfert
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About the Author
Sheri is a Catholic wife, mom, speaker and teacher. She uses her great sense of humor and her deep faith to help others discover the joy of being a child of God. Her roots are in Kansas but her home is in Michigan. The mission of her ministry is to encourage others to look at the simple ways we can all find God doing amazing things smack dab in the middle of the laundry, ball games, farm chores and the hundred other things we manage to cram into a day. Sheri also writes at JoyfulWords.org.