Let Them See Your Progress

This post is written to link with Five Minute Friday: write for five minutes on a one-word prompt.  The prompt today is “progress.”

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I almost gave up the piano after three lessons.

I didn’t like that I wasn’t good at it, that there was too much to learn, that it was hard!

Fortunately, I was persuaded to keep going.  Gradually I realised that I did have a gift for music, but that it was something that had to be developed gradually.  It would take work and practice.  It was about progress, not perfection.

(Side note: I recently saw a Facebook ad that made me laugh.  It was advertising a course to learn the clarinet, claiming that you could go from “Beginner to Pro in under 5 hours!” Since I’ve played the clarinet for over 25 years, I can assure you that is an impossible claim.)

There are many situations where we’d love a quick fix, but actually most things that matter are only developed through time and effort.  We can’t wait until we’re good at it to give it a shot.

It’s similar with the Christian life.  Paul writes to Timothy, encouraging him to cultivate the gifts he’s been given:

“Give your complete attention to these matters.  Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress.”  (1 Timothy 4:15 NLT)

There’s something scary about living in a way that lets others see your progress.  It means letting them see that at first you’re not so great – you may have the seed of a gift but you’re still learning to develop it and use it well.

But I think it’s also the only way to make progress – by doing it, by letting others see, by learning from their advice and being nurtured by their encouragement.

I’m glad I persevered with the piano.  It was worth the effort to look back years later and appreciate the progress I’d made, and I’m even more glad I persevered with the Christian life though I’m definitely still a work in progress.

(And thank you to for all your wise comments on my post on Tuesday.  I’m pleased to report that this post came out easily, and that in itself is a sign of progress but also an example of why we need one another’s encouragement!)

27 thoughts on “Let Them See Your Progress

    1. I’m sorry that you’ve had such a bad day. Praying that you have a chance to be refreshed this weekend and for God’s strength to persevere.

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  1. Enjoyed your post. Last week I had the grandchildren with me for a week and I was happy to listen to their music (piano & flute). It takes lots of practice to make steady progress. We need to have perseverance in many areas of life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad your grandchildren are learning music. It is such a worthwhile skill to have and it teaches a lot about practice and perseverance that can be carried into other areas of life.

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  2. I reflected on this same passage, but ran out of time before I could complete my thoughts. You hit one that I wasn’t able to develop because of the time limitations: there is a layer of accountability in having people watch our progress. As much as that makes me nervous, it’s scarier to think of people NOT holding me accountable and my losing the opportunity to grow.

    Amie, FMF #15

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  3. Your line, “It was about progress, not perfection.” really resonated with me. As a (recovering) perfectionist, that truth is something I have to remind myself constantly!

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  4. I’ve got no gift in music;
    I’ve got no gift for prose;
    my poetry is lunatic,
    and I trip over my toes.
    But in these all I presevere,
    though I don’t know why;
    it just seems so very clear
    that I still have to try
    to keep the kettle on the boil,
    and irons in the fire;
    though it seems a futile toil,
    I’ve no right to retire
    from the task that God has set,
    though success is no sure bet.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think you do have a gift for writing! I am always amazed at how you create all these poems. I’m grateful that you share your words, both through them and your blog posts. They are always a blessing!

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  5. Woo Hoo! So glad this writing flowed more freely! And your words are reassuring and encouraging! I don’t like to attempt things I don’t think I can do well….it’s that ole perfectionist coming through, but I love your thought that we should share our progress with others and gain from them in doing so! Thanks Lesley!

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    1. Thanks, Tara! I played the clarinet regularly until the lockdown meant my band rehearsals had to stop. I need to get back into it though and start building up my stamina again!

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