"Practice Makes Permanent"
I have had the privilege of coaching two middle school girls’ basketball teams this season, and I have learned two very important lessons from my players: patience is a virtue of the saints, and practice makes permanent. I have enjoyed every minute of coaching this season, but I do not want you think this story has anything to do with my finding the peace of Christ on the basketball court, because I have not. This is a story of how accepting the peace of Christ takes practice and practice makes permanent.
Growing up, I was convinced that receiving peace was tolerating the elderly ladies of the congregation kissing my cheek each week – it was something I cautiously avoided. I have fortunately grown into a new understanding, one that holds much more truth. A couple of years ago, two friends and I set out on a quick kayak trip across the North Edisto River to Botany Bay Plantation. The plan was to catch the sunset on the beach that houses a forest of petrified trees. Botany Bay has become one of my favorite places to go and just “be.” When we arrived, my friends and I spaced out, climbed on the limbs of different trees, and most importantly put away our phones. As I settled in, with my feet dangling just above the water, I took a few deep breaths and when exhaling, I could feel every pressure I placed on myself lifting. I was in awe of the sunset and soothed by the sounds of the tide turning below me. I quickly realized that the pressures were lifted because I was opening myself to the peace that Christ offers when we seek him.
I seek his peace and his presence most often in nature and at times when I am without distractions. It just seems to come more easily to me in those settings. As I continue to practice accepting peace, I have found I am able to receive it throughout busy weeks and in crowded, distracting environments. I was even able to breathe in his peace while sitting on the floor of my parents’ overcrowded house Christmas morning, while my four-year-old niece played her new guitar. It has been a gift to learn that when I allow myself to accept the peace of Christ, I am then equipped to share that peace with others. The Holy Spirit is at work in spite of us and will reveal the peace Christ longs to offer us. Sometimes, it just takes a little practice.