Do you ever feel like there’s a gigantic gap between the person you are and the person you want to be?
I do. For as long as I can remember, there’s been an amazing woman living in my mind. She’s fiercely devoted to God. Innately patient. She doesn’t falter in hardship or complain about trivialities. She would never whisper-yell in the grocery store parking lot, or eat cheesecake in the bathroom while the kids have oatmeal for breakfast. And she certainly wouldn’t back her dad’s car into the mailbox (twice!) and hope he doesn’t notice.
Every new year I think a lot about this woman. How can I take a running leap from ME to HER in the next twelve months?
My mind spins with strategies: Perhaps if I commit to a strict regimen of exercise, my body will release enough endorphins to make me a better person. Maybe I should attend a women’s conference. And read a bunch of Christian books. And organize my house, I should definitely organize my house. Better yet, I should read a book about organizing my house, and create a system whereby it’s never disorganized again. Then, by the end of the year, I could write a book about organizing the home…
Before I know it, I’ve created a master plan for becoming the woman I wish I could be. Invariably, by mid-February, reality sets in. I’m not attending conferences, publishing books, bench pressing my own body weight, or changing the world. Mostly I’m cleaning toilets. Folding clothes. Re-stocking our pantry, which I’m convinced is a portal to a parallel universe because every time I open the door, it’s empty again. Sadly, I realize there will be no flying leaps from me to Wonder Woman this year. Just the same old, slow, plodding journey.
The Power of the Small Moment
When it comes to spiritual growth, it’s normal to want big moments. My husband Clint still talks about the day he walked down a church aisle, fell to his knees sobbing, and gave his life to Christ. Big moments are beautiful and inspiring. And yet, Clint didn’t become the man he is today solely because of one big moment twenty years ago. Rather, like all of us, he became who he is over the course of millions upon millions of small moments.
In his book, What Did You Expect, Paul David Tripp writes: “the character and quality of our life is forged in little moments. We tend to back away from the significance of these little moments because they are little moments. [But] these are the moments that make up our lives.” In context he was writing about all the little thoughts and actions that shape a marriage. But I’m finding that this small-moment mentality is a great way to approach all of life.
This new year, instead of focusing on the big moments God may or may not have in store for you, pause and consider the small moment right in front of you. Today. What will you do with this one day? Will you rejoice in the goodness of God? Will you choose belief instead of doubt? Trust instead of fear? Will you worship today? Forgive someone today? Serve God by filing reports, or wiping runny noses, or doing whatever you do for His glory today?
Colossians 3:17 says, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Whatever you do today has the potential to glorify God, whether it’s preaching a sermon or folding underwear. Isn’t that amazing? No task is too menial to honor God if it is done with a heart devoted to Him.
Of course, the reverse is also true. Just as small, everyday moments build godly legacies, so they can destroy them. As Carey Nieuwhof wrote in his book, Didn’t See It Coming: “The subtle compromises we make day after day—the half truths, the rationalizations, the excuses—create a gap between who we are and who we want to be.” Small moments are like bricks. They stack themselves, one upon another, to build a life and legacy. This 2019, how will you wield the power of the small moment?
There is a quote on the wall of a workroom at the main campus of Grace Church. The quote, by Annie Dillard, says this: “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing.” Our church team recognizes the power of the small moment. As they spend their days photocopying curriculum, restocking supplies, editing this magazine—they invest their lives in the eternal.
With a brand new year before us, it’s worth asking, “How am I spending my days? What am I doing with this hour and that one?” Invite Jesus into the conversation. Ask Him what He thinks of your life today. I promise He will not love you more as you grow in godliness. Rather, you will discover that He has always loved you relentlessly—in your shining victories and your darkest failures. He’s not the frustrated coach, tapping his foot at the finish line, wondering when you’ll finally get it together. He’s the mighty Champion, lifting you out of the dirt, brushing off your knees, and running each small step with you.