It’s springtime for those of us in the northern hemisphere! Spring. The time of year when it feels as if nature begins all over again, and we want to join in the change. Houses are furiously cleaned and organized from top to bottom. We emerge outside without our coats and tackle the flower beds that have been lying dormant. And we pull out that never-ending task list with renewed vigor and the feeling we can tackle anything. Or do we?
That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.
1. Spring Doesn’t Change Everything
Just because spring turns over a new leaf does not mean everything changes. If we had a busy schedule before, we may find ourselves with one that is twice as busy. If we are chronically ill, the season change may help some symptoms but only make others worse. And it certainly doesn’t mean that we suddenly have the energy for doing everything we’ve dreamed about over the winter.
No, spring, as beautiful and glorious as it is, does not suddenly solve all our problems. And while it may give us enough motivation to tackle any number of challenges, it just can’t always give us the time, energy, and other resources needed.
But you know what? Once we realize that we can’t meet all our dreams or complete all the tasks on our list, it’s all too easy for us to sit down and do nothing. If we can’t do it all, then why should we bother trying? Yes, I have perfectionist tendencies. Do you relate?
It sounds silly written out, and we may not actually think that in so many words. But it is an attitude easy to adopt – at least for me.
When there is so much needing to be done, what good is the little bit you and I can do? Maybe more than we think. And what’s more important, God never holds us accountable for the things we can’t do (even though we tend to hold it over our own heads). But He does hold us responsible for the resources He has given us, no matter how meager they seem to us.
For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.
Matthew 25:14-15 (Click link for full story)
2. Climbing the Mountain
Earlier this month, I sorted through pretty much my entire wardrobe. I was blessed to be given a lot of very nice clothing last year, but I had so much it was hard to handle. It needed a big overhaul, some decluttering, and a lot of organization. This was very overwhelming – and even more so when my bed was covered with a mountain of clothes.
What was the route to take in “climbing” this mountain? One piece of clothing at a time. Not two. Not a whole season’s worth of items. One piece. It took a few hours over multiple days, but one piece at a time the mountain was climbed, and when I reached the top, a huge weight rolled off.
We live life “one piece at a time.” We can’t do everything. If you’re a creative person like me, you probably relate to having more creative ideas and projects you would like to complete than it seems possible to do in a whole lifetime – especially as fast as new ideas come up before you complete the old ones.
Broadening this perspective, there’s so much that needs to be done in this world. So many hurting people. So many people who need a friend. So many who need to know Jesus and even those who have yet to hear His wonderful name.
We can’t reach them all. Rather than wishing we only could, we need to accept that. We can’t help everyone, and we can’t do everything we would like to do.
That may sound a bit pessimistic, but it is the truth. And rather than being discouraging, it should be freeing. God doesn’t expect us to do everything, and He didn’t put us here for that purpose. But He does expect us, prayerfully and relying on His strength, to do something.
3. Little by Little
Little by little, each of us in our corner of God’s kingdom, as we rely on Him, can do what God put us here for. That may be building a friendship with someone God brings across your path – even what seems to be a one-sided friendship where you feel like all you ever do is give. Your little corner could be cooking a meal. Or maybe your strength for the day is about equal to putting away two items on your dresser. It all adds up. Don’t let the big jobs you want to be doing keep you from the little jobs you can be doing. God doesn’t count size the same way we do, but He does count faithfulness.
Never underestimate the power of five minutes. Maybe you don’t have long to work on a project so it hardly seems worth starting. So often, you can get a lot more done in five minutes than you would think.
A family friend once told me something years ago that has stuck with me. I don’t do it as much as I should, but it does come to mind sometimes. Do you want to know the secret? It’s quite simple. Always leave a place better than it was when you arrived. This could apply in so many different areas. One way is in your own home. When you are leaving a room, tidy up one thing to make it better than it was when you went in. Those little things add up.
4. A Little Relaxation
Doing what you can applies to more than just work. It also applies to rest and recreation! Maybe you’re not able to travel due to finances, health issues, or some other reason. Just because you can’t take the trip of your dreams does not mean you can’t enjoy yourself. Maybe you can’t even visit a local attraction. What is something special you could do at home? It may not even be something you would normally consider special, but is there a way to make it so?
The other day, my sister and I were home alone and had a special day together. Did we do anything drastic? No. One of the things we did was eat breakfast. A very commonplace occurrence. But we made it special by eating on the front porch and taking advantage of the gorgeous, cool morning (it may be spring, but Texas is already having some warm and humid days where it’s not so pleasant out, so that made this one seem more of a treasure). We also enjoyed watching a couple of Christian films together. Since watching films is not something we do very often, we really enjoyed it. I also had been given a diamond painting kit, and I started it while we watched the video.
Could I have been working that morning? Sure. Could I have decided that since it was just another day at home, things might as well be business as usual? Absolutely. But instead, we enjoyed making it special, and that afternoon and evening, I made good progress and finished up an editing project. The day was far from wasted.
Resting and taking care of yourself is important no matter your stage of life. To my fellow friends with chronic illness, you may especially need this reminder. You may not be able to get in the shape of someone else, but you can take the little steps to help yourself improve. Maybe that means going to bed a little earlier, taking your pills regularly, or limiting technology to give your mind a rest. Little steps add up and may take you farther than you think. Also, though you live through the same routines each day, is there a way you can change your mindset and make some of those things feel special again?
5. A Little Encouragement
I hope something in these thoughts is encouraging to you today. The weight of the world does not rest on your shoulders. God has it under control. Even the weight of your little to-do list doesn’t need to be on your shoulders. God is in control of that, too. He wants to give you the strength, moment by moment, one tiny step at a time, to do what He has given you. You don’t have to see the whole picture or two steps ahead, just this one. And as you go forward, don’t forget to look up often and enjoy the view! It’s spring, there’s beauty around you, and you don’t want to miss it!
Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
- The tallest mountain is climbed one step at a time.
- Don’t let what you can’t do stop you from doing what, in the Lord’s strength, you can do.
- Be faithful in your sphere, no matter how small and imperfect it seems.
Are there any mountains you need to climb? Any spring projects hanging over your head?
Until next time, take it one small step at a time with your hand in that of your Savior!