Originally published Friday, 09 August 2019.
Last summer, I would have told you I didn’t have an artsy bone in my body. And I didn’t. When my mom set up a summer lake house painting project for everyone, I was relieved that the lines were already drawn, and I just had to fill in the space with watercolor paints. But something strange happened last summer. I somehow couldn’t stop painting.
My paintings weren’t much good initially, but I found it strangely relaxing and tried to fit in a quick painting session almost daily. I didn’t think I was improving but it was fun. Much to my surprise, I started to improve! The progress was so incremental that I barely saw it happening. I find myself this year able to say that I am indeed artsy.
I’m not super great at persevering over a long period of time. I am tempted to believe that if the effort isn’t big, it isn’t even worth bothering. But I really learned something this past year through my painting– each day that I make a tiny bit of progress. Perseverance will eventually bear fruit.
Another way I’ve been exercising my perseverance this year is by doing a chronological read through of the Bible. I’m following The Bible Recap podcast which accompanies this year-long journey. The readings are preselected for the day and then a 6-8 minute podcast recap supplements what I’m reading that day. I’m not studying super in depth and I’m not spending more than 15-20 minutes a day doing this. But this tiny effort is changing me and shaping me.
“Every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different than it was before. And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing into a heavenly creature or a hellish creature…Each of us at each moment is progressing to the one state of the other
Friends, don’t give up even when your efforts aren’t big or noteworthy, make room for the small. Progress doesn’t have to be fast or come in enormous leaps and bounds. Take the time to figure out what you have to do to make yourself do things. A little 3x a week effort is better than doing nothing at all. In fact, even doing something you know you need to do once a week is better than not doing it at all. This applies to so many areas of life. Working out, practicing a skill, reading your Bible. We just need to begin, even if it is small.
Abraham Lincoln said, “I am a slow walker, but I never walk backward.”
Each tiny little choice or effort we make every day is not in vain. As I raise my three little girls and help my husband with our small business, each day is full! Many of my efforts are so so tiny. It hardly feels worth bothering. But I know that each step forward no matter its size brings me a little closer to my goals, a little closer to God, and a little closer to being more Christlike.
“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” – Galatians 6:9 (NLT)
Sarah Clews loves being the wife of Carson and mother to three little girls. She received her degree in English from Corban University and still loves the craft of writing. She also helps her husband run a martial arts school. In her free time, Sarah enjoys talking with grown-ups (!), finding new authors, doing online research, and reading her favorite childhood stories to her girls.