This year my oldest is learning to write in cursive. As I have been teaching her to write in cursive, I have realized how lax I have become in my own writing.
My mom was pretty strict in my handwriting training – every letter written just so, uniformly, and of readable size. As I grew, though, I envied the freer, more exciting handwriting of friends who hadn’t been “enslaved” to a writing style like I thought I had been.
I tried over the years to make adjustments in my handwriting. I would imitate the writing styles of others, doing funny things with some of my letters. But, I never could successfully write well, no matter how I changed my style. Why? Because I was trained in proper handwriting, and I was trying to rebel against that. My training got in the way.
Lately as I’ve been teaching Olivia, I’ve been trying to make a conscious effort to write my letters properly again. It’s been amazing to watch my writing return to a level of neatness it has not seen in years! It may seem a little corny, but deciding to write correctly again has almost given me a freedom in my handwriting.
As people made in the image of God, we were created to do things the right way. God’s way. It so often seems that God’s way is too hard. To constraining. Too boring. Too overwhelming. Too dull compared to the way everyone else goes through life. So, we try to follow the examples of others. We try to blend their methodology with our own and live life with a hodge-podge of styles.
Just as in handwriting, a conglomeration of methodologies results in sloppiness and frustration. Nothing ever seems just right. Nothing blends well, and we just can’t seem to find that perfect system that really works for a successful life.
At some point, we must decide to set aside the hodge-podge lives we are living. When we do so – when we simplify and just decide to do it God’s way and God’s way only – we will find a freedom and beauty in life that has seemed to escape us for so long. It might not be an easy life, but it will be a beautiful one.