Small Steps Are Big
by Laura Rath
“The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’” Matthew 25:21 NLT
We like to skip the small stuff and move right to the big, don’t we? Small steps take time, and that’s time we don’t want to “waste.” We want to move to the end result—the bigger office, the better promotion, the nicer house that’s not quite affordable…we like to get to the big ending, and the faster, the better.
But lately, I’ve been noticing the small stuff more—the small goals I reach, the quiet opportunities I’ve been given, the small steps outside of my comfort zone that stretch me just the right amount.
Small steps are good. In fact, the smallest steps can be the biggest leaps of faith.
I remember when…
…my daughter learned to walk. She had to learn to take baby steps before she could take off running. I think living a life of faith can be much like those toddler steps…one step at a time, learning to trust that God will be right beside me.
That first step can be difficult, no matter how small it might be, but it’s that small step that leads to bigger strides. What trips me up is when I spend too much time focused on what others are doing.
When I look at other moms and what they accomplish, in addition to taking care of their family…it can be intimidating. I lose sight of what I do have because I’m focused on what I don’t have.
Last fall, I hosted my own little pity party. There were only two attendees—God and me, and I spent the entire time mentally complaining to Him. Lord, I have this dream to write and maybe even speak to women, but how can that ever happen when life is going on and I’m needed at home? I don’t have the connections and opportunities others have. And did I mention that there’s a lot going on at home right now? I feel you’ve called me to be here, but I have this dream of being over there, and I don’t see how it can ever happen.
God’s response was gentle, but crystal clear. Stop complaining about what you don’t have and focus on what you do have.
I felt convicted, but not in a harsh way. Instead, it was a peaceful feeling. I calmly let go of the anxiety that had me twisted up inside, and did what He said—I thought about all that I do have.
I didn’t know this conversation was a piece of a puzzle, until a few days later when a co-worker asked me to help write and present a Bible study for a small women’s retreat. It was a small first step that felt huge…and frightening…like crossing a chasm. And God already had it planned when He suggested I stop my complaining.
Small steps are so much better than no steps at all. Maybe for you it’s finally finishing that class, despite chronic health issues, or earning that first college credit towards the degree you never thought would be yours. Perhaps it’s starting a small garden while you dream of owning your own greenhouse, or beginning an exercise routine at home while you save the money to join a gym.
Small steps can feel terrifying when they are outside of our comfort zone, but it’s those small steps that get us to where God is leading.
Looking too closely at someone else’s journey causes me to lose sight of my own journey. It sparks feelings of jealously and competition. We look at someone else’s big accomplishment, but don’t stop to consider how many small steps she took to get there.
Small steps are important opportunities. They enable us to grow and learn, but at the same time, they give us time to appreciate the scenery on the way to the destination. If we try to rush to the finish line too quickly, we miss out on the day-to-day moments that make lifelong memories.
Don’t resent the small baby steps, or get frustrated by the amount of time they take. They are necessary milestones along your God-designed journey. And if you’re like me, you don’t want to miss them by speeding right past them.
How do you feel about the small steps God might have you take? Do you see them as opportunities or a waste of time? Have you experienced a time when you could look back and see how the small steps got you to where you are now?
Laura Rath writes to encourage women in their walk with Christ. She is a wife, mother, writer, blogger and works in church ministry. Laura shares stories of her faith journey on her blog Laura Rath ~ Journey in Faith, and recently experienced one of her God-sized dreams when she had the opportunity to speak at three women’s events, with another one planned for later this year. Laura is a regular contributor at LifeLetter Café, and can also be found on Twitter and Facebook.