Saturday, November 11, 2006

Small Steps


"Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin..." Zechariah 4:10

If only we could get this.

If only we could realize that, usually, it's the small steps we take which lead us to freedom and dreams-come-true.

I think it's that 'all or nothing' mentality which knocks us down flat. Oh, sometimes, in some situations, we need that... but for the everyday stuff? I wonder.

Have you ever tried to cheer-up a woman who is determined to stay miserable? I have. Lots of women, lots of times. I've tried advocating the power of small steps, only to be rebuffed by excuses. "No, that won't work--I have too many kids and I've put all my dreams on hold. No, this house is beyond help--I've given-up on decorating it. No, we could never save up enough money for _______. No, that idea would be just too hard. No, it's just too late."

No. No. No.

Sigh.

But how amazing Life becomes when we learn the miracle of small steps. Small steps will still, if taken regularly and faithfully, walk us out of where we've been, into where we'd rather like to be.

While I was growing-up I always wished my family had a home library of wonderful books. But alas, it was not to be--for a number of reasons--so instead, I regularly haunted every library in every town where we lived, and too, I treasured my few Scholastic paperbacks until they practically crumbled from my rereading them.

And then I grew-up and married and brought only those piddly, tattered Scholastic books to our marriage (hey, I was only 19). And for years, I still longed for that home library which I'd seen inside my head for eons, but we had so little money just starting out and after having a baby nearly right away.

But eventually, around 15 years ago, I stopped making excuses (technically, that's a HUGE step), and I began simply collecting one book at a time. One book--one little step--at a time. I began believing that in every Salvation Army-type store we visited, I'd find the exact, out-of-print books I'd wanted since I was a teenager.

Miracles can happen when you simply start believing for them. No, really--they can.

Do you know what happened in my case? Shortly after I stopped complaining and doubting and making excuses and whining about how hard it was to find these books I'd loved as a teenager, God moved us into a house only one block away from a tiny, ramshackle house with two rooms stuffed and crammed with library shelves flooded with out-of-print books like the ones I'd always wanted. And the long-haired, dreamy girl behind the counter sold her books cheap. And we finally had a little extra money each month.

Sometimes we are too easily overwhelmed. Sometimes we believe that because this world is into high-speed, microwave living, that God is, too. But from what I've seen, He's more into small steps--small steps where we learned lessons about obedience and walking His way, not ours. Lessons like, wishing is not the same as having faith and starting-out small is often a safer, less-expensive way to decide if our dream is a true dream of our heart--or not. Small, unforgettable steps where His steps matched ours--and left us hopeful and changed and ready to face any journey ahead, not with dread, but with anticipation.

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