If you have ever lifted weights then you know that it is something that can be challenging when you first pick it up, requires a consistent routine in order to improve, and as you improve are able to bear more weight and feel stronger and stronger. On the flip side, the less consistent you are, the harder it feels and the more your muscles atrophy as a result of less practice.
I am learning more and more that these principles apply in every aspect of life!
In every thing, I wish I felt like this:
But in most things, I really feel like this:
To be good at ANYTHING, I really have to work at it like it’s a muscle I need to strengthen! My motherhood muscle is pretty strong because I am around my kids all the time! However, I have taken very little time to exercise some of my talents and am finding that those muscles have somewhat atrophied. I wish that things were just like “riding a bicycle” and it’s easy to pick up whenever I want, but most things really aren’t like that! Being a great writer, or singer, or pianist, or artist, or cook, or inventor means hours of focus and practice! If you don’t exercise your brain, you will lose it. Most people I know who are great at something have spent a lot of focused time and energy on that thing. People I know who have lost a lot of weight worked really hard over a long period of time to reach their goals. Most great things really don’t happen over night.
It’s like the parable of the talents illustrated in this video:
Like the first two servants, developing the talents we are given requires hard work, but we are given more in return. Our hard work pays off! On the other hand, burying our abilities is disappointing and we lose what we are given!
I recently read a quote by a person named Ira Glass – a radio personality. I don’t know who that is, but I like the quote:
Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”
I feel that way in most things. I see people who have amazing talent, and I wish so terribly I had that ability! I know I have good taste, but the capacity to recreate those visions is just not in me.
I have often heard people say that when you are feeling your weaknesses most poignantly, you are nearer to the Spirit, because He is revealing to you how to change in order to grow. I believe that is true. The Spirit can then act as our stepping stone through the grace and tender mercy of the Savior to lift us to a higher level. On the other hand, if we allow our weakness to over power us, it can become a stumbling block. As it says in Ether 12:27: “And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.” Adversity truly makes us stronger!