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When I go to the grocery store and there’s one of those signs on the end of the conveyor belt that says “Checker in Training,” I always go to that lane.

Because I worked at a grocery story during my summers when I was in college, and I remember what it was like to be the one learning. I remember trying to memorize the number code for every fruit, learning what to do with food stamps and coupons, and mastering the art of packing a grocery sack so that the bread and eggs are placed gently on top and not on the bottom.

With learning comes mistake after mistake, but nobody cares, because they know you’re working hard to figure it out and improve your skill.

So I’ll be going down to the t-shirt store and having this decal ironed onto every shirt I own: “Woman in training.”

It makes me laugh out loud this morning, to realize that I’m practicing on EVERYBODY. When I got married I knew nothing, and 22 years later, I might be getting the hang of being a wife. Then somebody rolled up two swaddled babies and handed them to me, and I can promise you I knew nothing about what to do with them.

I put my faith in Christ knowing about one-trillionth of what that meant. I blog every day, but you do realize I’m new at this? A year and a half into writing, and I still feel like a novice. And God has gifted me with friends, but I find myself practicing on them—knowing I need to love them, but I feel all thumbs at times.

All thumbs.

Doesn’t that describe how we feel during a good chunk of our day?

That’s why Paul says, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love” (Eph. 4:2, NIV).

Be patient, he says. We’re all trying to get the hang of this.

You know, when they take the sign away that says, “Checker in Training,” then all of a sudden everyone expects the checker to have their act together. This makes sense in a grocery store but doesn’t make sense in real life.

Wives and moms and daughters and employees and Christ followers and home managers need years—maybe a lifetime—to get into the swing of things. The sign shouldn’t come down.

So cut yourself some slack—you’re learning.

I see your sign. I’ll choose to come to your lane, because I understand if you make mistakes.


Christy Fitzwater is a blogger, pastor's wife and mom of two teenagers. She resides in Montana. Visit ChristyFitzwater.com for more information about her ministry.

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