Practice makes perfect?

Practice makes perfect???

Chances are, you’ve heard the phrase “practice makes perfect.” From sports to music, this mantra is continually being used as a means of motivation. Recently, I started poking around at the phrase questioning its power of inspiration.

What if practice doesn’t make perfect?  Think about, what is perfect? NO SLIP UPS. How is this even possible? 

Why is perfection continuously used as the ideal measuring stick?

Recently, I prepared for speaking and facilitating a group at my church. Anytime I talk in a group larger than 2 people, I typically get nervous.  Really nervous.  My heart starts pounding, my words come out too fast, I don’t communicate the way I want.

Going through the material, I felt defeated before I even began.  Reasoning, if I can’t be perfect, why bother? Now, I know this isn’t truth, but a part of my heart agrees with that statement. 

Perfection doesn’t bring out the best; perfection highlights the worst.

Practice makes perfect?

 I felt conflicted.   How could I seek preparation without the expectation of perfection? I continued prodding and pushing back against the notion that practice makes perfect.

The old adage needs a facelift, so let’s change it to practice makes prepared.

Prepared means ditching unrealistic expectations.

Prepared means you are giving whatever IT is you need to do today your best.  Knowing that tomorrow, you will have even more to give. 

Prepared means showing up and putting in the hard work.

Human nature wants to take the big shots, shine in the spotlight.  But, until practice has occurred, the big shots will be missed.

Practice isn’t fun.

There is no glory in practice.

Practice is tedious, it’s solo, it’s repetitious.

As a Believer, I rest knowing that His power doesn’t work best in my perfection…just the opposite.  But, I am required to show up. To walk in obedience.  To partner with Him.

The measuring stick of perfection always meant I came up short.  No matter how hard I tried, it I never felt good enough. Who wants to keep trying if it never feels enough?  Instead of the striving towards something unattainable, I committed to showing up, logging in the hours, and pressing through.

This shouldn’t be too surprising…. I had more fun speaking on Monday night than I ever had prior.  I flubbed a few words and I forgot a few things, but I felt relaxed.  And so did the individuals in the group.  As you release the expectation of perfection, so will others around you.

I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14


  • Casie

    Dang girl, I needed that. Awesome perspective. Thank you.

    January 30, 2017 at 12:07 pm
    • melissaClark
      Melissa Clark

      Thanks Casie! Glad it was helpful!!!

      January 30, 2017 at 1:36 pm
  • Christina

    Our therapist (aka family coach) says, “practice makes better”. Great post Melissa!

    February 1, 2017 at 2:44 pm
  • Roger Myers

    As a music teacher, I told my students, “Practice makes permanent.” Your performance will not be better than your practice. I like your version, “Practice makes prepared.” Thanks.

    February 1, 2017 at 4:35 pm

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