We are forgetful creatures. That’s why we have to re-read things that are important, like the Bible, that’s why we write out affirmations and repeat them to ourselves. That’s why we have to regularly say “I love you” to those important people in our lives lest both of us forget.
We also have to practice things that don’t come naturally to us. We naturally gravitate to stimuli like that ding on your phone when an email shows up, people who are charismatic, and getting likes on our Facebook posts. We don’t naturally get 8 hours of sleep a night or practice Sabbath once a week or have a daily quiet time to read, meditate and reflect because it doesn’t act on us – we have to act on it. We have to make an effort to set those boundaries instead of letting outside stimuli control us. These are the things that recharge us instead of drain us, even though we think that rush of dopamine will do it. Eventually we end up empty exhausted shells of ourselves instead of vibrant and energetic.
Practice isn’t just for children – it’s a lifelong endeavor. We practice yoga, practice a new diet, practice to get good at a sport or to play an instrument. We practice being better listeners and using our filters so that what’s in our brain doesn’t automatically come out of our mouths. Practice means it’s not perfect the first time and may never be perfect. But it does mean we should get better and improve based on the time and effort we put in.