Sunday, February 10, 2013

Thinking Small--Sometimes It's Huge

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

I began writing in this blog in 2004, just one sentence at a time, four or five days per week, average. And now if I were to print this all out? I'd have 4,500 pages, more or less. So, technically, I've written several books (length-wise) just by plugging along, one day at a time and the aforementioned one sentence at a time.

Last year, sale by sale, coupon by coupon, I saved $2,700 at the supermarket. That's saving/earning $1 here, $2.50 there, one sale, one coupon at a time with just a few hours' worth of effort each week. And through steadily plunking away at it, we have cupboards and freezers full of food, none of which we bought for full price.

Twenty-three years ago I began creating the library I'd dreamed of as a teenager and now one, two, three books at a time (weeding out the no-longer-loved), that library is mine.

Over a period of 22 (or so) years, buying the smaller houses we could afford, making house payment after house payment, and after selling three of those houses, Tom and I were able to buy this last one with cash. It's not a mansion, but its ours.

And a few years ago--after deciding to no longer carry debt on our credit cards-- we made extra payments (after payment, after payment) until our cards were paid-off. It didn't even take ages, just concentration mostly, and we've kept them paid-off ever since.

So often we're told to Think Big! Thinking small leads only to Nowheresville! 

But sometimes that advice overwhelms people--so much so--that they can smell the failure before even beginning their project/dream/plan. They feel defeated and hopeless while staring at the huge end of the dream rather than at the small steps it takes to arrive there. 

Baby steps can lead to big goal lines. Baby steps can often be a wiser way to go--we just might make fewer mistakes if we're not trying to run. But we can't give up. We must keep plugging away, one faithful baby step at a time in the joy of the doing and the anticipation of the win.


"But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing."   ... James 1:4


Here's an article where a man used baby steps, a few larger ones and some good old-fashioned wisdom to accomplish his goals.



Anonymous said...

I have gone on blogs I admire that are homesteaders. I dream When they listed the things they do to be self sufficient I am amazed at the similarity with their list and the things we have done too. No animals for us, but the ideas of how to save $ and live simply and such are there still. I always thought they were so ahead of us and such. We can only do what each of us can do or want to accomplish. We also went the road you have but accomplished it minus as many coupon deals as you already know. As you said, small step at a time. One decision at a time. That is how I like to think of so many projects. One day I might just have time to get the shovels out to be ready for the next step and the next another step but in due course I have another garden bed. And so on. I imagine you did not come to walk with God as you do all of a sudden either. It was one day at a time and consistency and willingness. Baby steps to a Big Goal. The biggest. We cannot just dream of the life we want. We do need to take that one step and then another and when we look back we will have accomplished what we set out to do. You two have done that. That you are both stepping out together with God is the best!!! Congratulations!!!! Sarah

Anonymous said...

Interesting link to the man who did well with a very average income in just 20 years!! Interesting idea...Panama...hubby has an uncle and wife living someplace in Panama...but it probably helps that she is Mexican and likely speaks enough Spanish too.

Terri said...

One small step at a time...I was actually thinking along those lines just today. But my thinking went more the reverse. I was thinking of how many people fail because they look at the whole picture and get overwhelmed, throw up their hands and quit before they start. I encourage my own readers to start small and build up. 1 extra can of beans or soup. 1 extra payment. Saving that extra $2 and $5 and adding them up so they net you an extra payment that month.

It's good to do difficult things, to stretch and build muscle. But it's not all the big tough hard stuff. It's a moderate approach of doing the bit of hard and the bit of easy so that we can maintain our pace.