Often we are on the lookout for “big” things. We want a shiny solution that fixes all our problems in one fell swoop or we’re waiting to seamlessly go from a place of obscurity to center-stage. We love the Cinderella stories and usually root for the underdog to win and expect that to happen to us. But, despite what Hollywood tells us, that’s not usually how the world works. In the movies, the character’s hard work, training, or studying is done during a quick montage with upbeat music playing in the background. We focus on the big, flashy finish because it would be boring to sit with them through each painstaking step they took to better themselves. But that’s when the magic really happens.
Brick by brick, little by little.
What dream is inside of you that you’re longing to accomplish but haven’t yet? We all have those and love crafting and molding those dreams into something fantastic. But many times we don’t follow up with an all too important question: what’s one small action you can take today toward your goal? Don’t disdain the small things! It could be as simple as emailing someone, researching a job, updating a resume, or opening up a new document and typing a few words.
These are not things that typically warrant a celebration. We don’t throw a parade when someone takes the courageous step to apply for the job they want or buy the supplies to pursue that dream of theirs. But why not? When a child is learning to walk we make a big deal out of each wobbly, unsure step, so why don’t we do the same when it comes to stepping out in faith or pursuing our dreams?
I am the first to admit that I’m not a “people” person. I won’t go out of my way to introduce myself to someone new, I’m not a social butterfly with tons of friends; I am pretty content being alone. At work, this is especially true. When I’m working, I am on a mission, desiring to accomplish the tasks at hand without being bombarded with conversation after conversation. I realize this is not the best view, a paradigm God is definitely breaking me of.
The other day I was talking to a co-worker and we began discussing writing. He has a message he wants to share with the world, but he told me he didn’t know how to begin. I had to tell him this simply wasn’t an acceptable excuse and shared my story. I thought I had a message within me and one day it just came down to sitting at my computer and typing it out. It seems so simple to me now, but those first few words are always the hardest.
It’s easy for us to get so wrapped up in what the end product will look like that we lose sight of what the beginning should look like. We often forget that these grand things we’re dreaming of are built by small bursts of forward motion over a prolonged period of time. The first few steps aren’t pretty, they’re not graceful, and rarely well put together, but it’s the most important part of the process.
Who have you encouraged today? This week? This month? When have you taken a moment to speak into the life of another human being? It’s easy to think “They won’t listen to me,” or “What I say won’t matter much,” but that’s simply not true. Sure, we all have those people in our lives who don’t enjoy taking advice, but I’m coming to believe those are the rarity; they’re the exception, not the rule. I think that, for most people, a little encouragement goes a long way. What may seem like a passing comment or a quick conversation in the break-room could really impact that person for the better.
It’s my hope and prayer that we would begin to live life with our eyes open, ready to respond appropriately when we see an opportunity to do something little. Your next step doesn’t need to be grand, it doesn’t need to be life-altering or world-shaking, but it has to be a step. After taking one, two, ten, thirty steps, you’ll look around and see yourself somewhere entirely new, all because you endured, faithfully planting one foot in front of the other, encouraging others along the way.