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Persistence as a Key to Success

Practice may not make perfect, but it does make practicing a habit.

Heirloom tomato plant
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This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. —John 15:8 (NIV)

Last summer I set out three tomato plants. Two promptly disappeared in the night, dug up by some mysterious animal who left craterlike holes to mark my loss. On the sole surviving plant I hung all my hopes for growing fresh tomatoes. Finally, a tiny green ball appeared, one tiny green ball that grew into one midsized tomato—my entire crop for the season.

This morning, I planted three tomato plants…again. I placed them in a different spot, in the corner of my big flowerbed. I’m hoping my nocturnal creature with a penchant for tomato plants won’t find them. I’m hoping they’ll get better sunlight. I’m hoping for more than one tomato.

My mother used to say, “Anything worth doing is worth doing well.” So as a child I was taught to do my chores with an eye toward perfection—whether it was ironing pillowcases, washing hundreds of cobwebby jars at the start of canning season or choosing raspberries to freeze for my annual 4-H project. It was all to be done…well, well.

But I’d like to amend that aphorism of Mother’s: “Anything worth doing is worth doing…again…and again, if necessary.” So what if you don’t succeed? That’s what second attempts were made for! Practice may not make perfect, but it does make practicing a habit. And that’s a good thing.

I like to imagine that even now my tomato plants are putting down roots that will let them stretch toward the summer sun flooding that bit of yard.

I want to stretch, too, beyond the comfort of things I do well. I think that the God who created second chances—and tomato plants—would be pleased with that.

Give me courage to grow in new and exciting ways—and to bear much fruit.

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