Taking Small Simple Steps

Have you ever gotten off track from the path you wanted to be on?  Perhaps you found yourself not as far as you were hoping to be?  Or maybe you just feel a little stalled out at the moment?

Stalled out.  That is where I have found myself over the past few weeks.  I was doing alright sticking with my motto of Simple Consistency for the year.  I was pretty faithful at my objective to keep it simple and do it often.

Then, I stalled out.  It is not like I went in the ditch or made a u-turn to drive 100 miles an hour in the wrong direction.  My momentum slowed to a puttering pace.  Then, poof, it feels like I came to a stop.  The pace of life’s traffic seems to be barrelling by at top speed.

I will admit that some of my small choices have not been the wisest lately.  Yes, I have more frequently opted for sweet sugary treats.  Yes, I chose the plate of nachos with all the fixings over the salad.  I abandoned my water bottle for the sweetened tea a few too many times.  I was too “busy” for that workout each time it was scheduled last week.

I am already feeling the effects.  The decrease in motivation, the building pile of things to get around to,  and feeling not quite as enthusiastic as normal.

I recognize and know that I need to halt this trend and get myself moving in the right direction again.  I have historically fallen prey to a belief during these lull periods that I need a crazy and complete revamp to pick up momentum.  I get up to sprint at super fast paced, only to crash a small distance down the road from where I was.

I chose Simple Consistency as my focus theme for the year because I need to break the pattern of fits and starts in my life.  I need to take my eyes of the splendor of the big and dramatic so that I can center my attention on the sweetness of the small things all around me.

Small Sucks:

I know that is a crass statement, but simply put that is the message that the world pours over us day after day.  Small things are insignificant and lack strength.  Being little in size makes them minor in influence, of little consequence, limited in degree and reduced to a humiliating position.  The world says that small things suck; they are unpleasant, inferior and of poor quality.

Who wants to feel insignificant, minor in influence, of little consequence, humiliated and lacking in strength?  I have felt that way and it is not a good feeling I would like to seek out.

What if the Secret is in the Small?

“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.”  Zechariah 4:10 (NLT)

What if we set aside the harsh feelings about small things, took our eyes off the grandeur we have been focused on, and embraced a single step at a time?  This is what I am attempting to do this week, to reset myself and ready myself to move in a purposeful direction.

To be totally honest, yesterday was hard.  My small step yesterday was to get my water intake back to my goal level for the day.  It was oh so tempting to reach for sweeter things, especially during the warm sunny afternoon.  I knew in my head what the best choice was, but the temptation was there for my hand to reach for something else.

This morning when my alarm went off I wanted to hit the snooze and extend my time in bed, but I had a scheduled workout time to get to.  It was not visions of sugar plums dancing through my head, but mental images of panting through standing mountain climbers causing me dread.

Small simple steps create movement.  Making the right choice this morning can get me turned in the right direction for the rest of the steps of my day.  Small beginnings.

If the Lord rejoices in small beginnings, why do I dread them so much?

My prayer this morning was brief, “Lord, please help me embrace small beginnings and rejoice in them.  This is a new day, therefore it is a new beginning.  May I soak in Your mercy this day so that I may have mercy to offer myself and others.” 

With that I set off to do my workout.  My leg extensions, less than straight due to some stiff muscles.  My movements were probably not so graceful or full form but were instead a bit more elephant like.  But as ugly as it may have looked, I made it to the end, covered in sweat and ready to wave a white flag of surrender.

That small and simple step gave me a huge smile this morning.  So I sucked up the courage to take a sweaty, messy ponytail selfie.  To which my first thought was, oh my goodness, I really do look like an elephant!

20170516_055807

But, you know what, I just had to share.  Because this is the real me.  If you dropped by my house this morning, this is how you would have found me.  This picture shows that small steps, are not often the pretty ones.  They are messy and hard.  They are easy to despise and to want to avoid.

Small Steps Get Us Started:

It is the small steps that get us moving.  They get us going again when we have stalled out.  Those first steps, baby steps, can be the hardest to take.  It is often the hardest things that are the most important.  They help us to see that it is not as bad as we thought, which encourages us to persevere with another few steps.  Little by little we can make great strides.

What small simple step do you need to take today?  Is there a relationship that you need to step into through a call, or text, conversation or letter?  Is there a workout that you need to do?  A bowl of fruit you need to munch on?  A task on your to do list that you have been too long avoiding?  An email in your inbox to tend to?  A closet that needs to be cleaned out?

Take that step, you never know where it will lead you.  It may be small, but it may only be the beginning.  Beginnings are worth rejoicing over.

Beloved Lord,

I am so glad and thankful that You rejoice over small beginnings.  Lord, please help us all to have a shift in perspective so that we too will joyfully embrace the small simple steps in our daily lives.  

May the steps we take today help us to move in the direction you are calling us to.  May we find a rich peace and contentment in our faithfulness in the little things.  May it bring many shining smiles that radiate love both inward and outward.

In the name of Jesus, who modeled just how significant the small things are, amen.   

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