Monday, April 15, 2013

Don't skip the small or you might not survive the big

I dream of a big life, of changing the world, of doing big things that really matter.

But then sometimes, I'm too afraid to do the little things.

I just want to skip over them. As if they are too little to matter. Too little to spend energy on. Too little to take a risk on. I just want to get to the big stuff.

"God, I'll not deny you even in the face of torture and death!...just please don't make me talk to a stranger...."

I know deep down that if I can't do these little, day to day things, if I can't trust God to be faithful in the small and seemingly insignificant, then I'm not going to survive the big stuff.

Sure, God might still use me. He might even do big and powerful things with me, even if I struggle with the little. But I might not survive it.

I might not even get there in the first place - I won't be ready for the opportunities when they come. But even if I did get to those big, life changing things I want to be a part of, even if in the power of God I could handle it at the time, I think ultimately I wouldn't survive it in the long run.

All those lessons you learn in the small stuff - the patience, the faith, the prayer, the commitment, the perseverance, the resilience, the eye for the big picture even in the face of set backs - if you skip over them, you might still fly high and bright for a few moments, but you will burn out fast.

God can still use you to impact people, because He is God, and it is always Him working, and not you. But if you want Him to use you for the long haul, if you want your life to be dedicated to changing hearts and lives forever and not just a brief moment, don't skip the small. You never know how those little lessons will serve you later on.

Sometimes I sense God prompting me to do something that scares me a little. Not something particularly momentous, just something that takes a step of faith outside of my comfort zone. (This normally means speaking, or putting myself on the spot, where there is potential for embarrassment.)

My first instinct is to dodge it. How can I get out of this? How can I justify it away so that I convince myself it isn't really important whether I do it or not?

Then when I realise I can't get out of it, I try to renegotiate the deal. Can I write it, instead of speaking? Can I just talk to a couple of people, instead of all of them? How can I do this so I feel like I'm doing what I'm told, but it's still within my comfort zone?

I do this because I'm afraid God won't really show up. Or that people won't understand and I'll look foolish. Or that I'll put myself on the line of hoping for something big, but it turns out to be something small.

Because I think often our definition of big and significant is different to God's. We think if we speak and the whole room doesn't fall to their knees praising God, then it wasn't big, then it didn't really matter.

Don't get me wrong, I hope and pray we all see thousands coming to Jesus.

But before we get to the big, we've got to be satisfied with the seemingly small. Because God sees the big picture, the foundation He is laying now, and all the little pieces that go in to the whole story He is writing.

Speak to one person, no matter the potential for failure and embarrassment. Say or do those things God is prompting you to do, no matter what you fear the consequences will be.

Maybe God will surprise you by showing up in bigger ways than you expected. And I'm sure He's planting seeds that we aren't always aware of.

If there's one thing we can count on, it's that God is faithful.

But maybe He doing more than just puffing up your self confidence. Maybe, even when you act with obedience and not much seems to happen, God is preparing you. He's training you to recognise His voice. He's teaching you to act quickly without hesitation. He's teaching you to have faith and see with your spiritual eyes, not just the natural where it appears nothing is happening.

He's teaching you to trust Him, no matter what.

These little steps and little moves matter - one day you will live in the fruit of those small steps of obedience. So when the big moves for God come, and the inevitable big obstacles and attacks follow, you will have no doubt of God's faithfulness, and no doubt of the sound of His voice.

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