A little over twenty years ago (can it have really been that long?), I started a high school program that required a great amount of writing. And, when I say a great amount, I mean that I had no choice but to learn how to type well and fast because that was the only way I was going to keep up! I distinctly recall typing about 60 pages of written work one week. That was a long week.
The high school program was set up such that most of the tests and open-book evaluations had written segments on them. In addition to that, there were major written projects to truly evaluate my ability to process what I had been learning. At the core of everything was English. In English I had to learn proper paragraph formation and my papers had to reflect that proper formation.
If you had told me during those four years that I would one day love to write, I’d have called you crazy. I loathed my English courses. I despised those written assignments. Because of them, writing was a chore. Something to put off. Something to dread. Then something to get through as quickly as possible to get it over with. My freshman year I was not good at it. I would hand my first drafts to Mom, and they would come back with more red marks than black type. Again and again I would write, turn in, correct, and write some more. By my junior year I had greatly improved, as was evidenced by the consistent decrease in red marks. Every now and then I would turn in a paper that would come back with little or no red on it. Those were proud moments!
By the time I reached college, writing came easily for me. I still didn’t necessarily enjoy it, but when given the choice I would choose a paper or essay over a test. In fact, one of the most dreaded classes in the religion department actually ended up being one of my favorites. Why? Because the tests were essays. The professor gave out six essay questions a couple of weeks before the test so we could prepare our essays in advance and memorize their outlines. On test day, he chose two of them, and we were to regurgitate our essays from the memorized outlines. I knew exactly what to expect, and I knew I could write a well-organized paper. Yes, that horrible high school program had prepared me well.
And now, twenty years later, I write because I love it. I write because it’s an outlet. I write because thoughts tumble so powerfully in my mind, and I seem to have no other way to truly let them out. The training I hated with a passion in high school is now a blessing because I don’t have to worry about technique or organization. Those things were so hammered into my head twenty years ago that they now come naturally to me.
True training is not easy and it is definitely not painless. It costs time, tears, and more energy than we think we can give. Just about the time we think we’ve poured all we can have into it, it demands more. We are fully convinced that we can’t give more, but somehow we do.
But that gives us no license to put the training aside.
If I had been given a choice in high school to put aside that particular program in favor of another one, I probably would have done it. But, even with all of that, I see how I benefited. I see how I grew. I see what I learned. And I am thankful.
Are you in the middle of loathsome training? Can you recall training that pains you to even recollect? You might not be able to conceive of it right now, but somehow it is for good. It will be used. And it will be used for God’s glory. So, hang in there. He’s not being hateful. He’s not ruining your life. He’s training you. And the results will be good.