Every Tuesday night I get to teach the sweetest girls ballet, tap, and jazz. Every girl is pretty new to dance. We are still a couple of months short of a year of offering these classes, and yet every week at least one girl tells me that they don't need to practice or to work on their leaps or to show me their turns. They say, "I already know how to do that!" I just smile and tell them that it's been a long week so I must have forgotten how good they are ... and that I could use a little reminder (that just so happens to be in the form of what I have told them to do).
I know my girls' skill level and I know what we need to practice. Sometimes, they think they have mastered a skill but they haven't yet. They don't understand their need for stability in their core that only comes through repetition or that their leaps get higher and better the more often they practice them. They don't see the big picture. They only see the hour or two they spend with me on Tuesday nights, not a couple of years down the road.
I can't blame them, though. I get bored with repetition or feeling like I already know how to do something that it seems I'm learning again. I rarely think about the fact that God may want me to learn something I feel like I've already learned because He knows what is coming down the road. He's preparing me. I forget that God is my Teacher, that He sees the big picture, and that He knows what He needs to develop in my life so that I can serve Him in the way that He has purposed. I don't want to re-read the same stories, pray for the same things, or practice the same spiritual disciplines. Sometimes (wrongly so), I think, 'I have got this part, God. Can't we move on to something else?'
Have you been there? As soon as I think, 'I understand that You don't like pride. I got rid of that from my life. Let's move on.' pride walks back in and takes over. I'm so glad God is so patient with me! God knows I need to practice being in His presence every day and probably just chuckles when I live in a way that screams, "I already know how to do this." because I don't.
When my little ballerinas say they know how to do something but then can't show me, I just give them some encouragement and teach the skill again. I think God does that for us, too. Even when we look at Him and say, "I can do this without you," He continues to pursue us and reinforce the same teaching in us again. I'm so glad our God is consistent and faithful to train us in righteousness over and over and over again!