Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Small Hard Things...

Lately I've been feeling insignificant.

I'm sure you've heard me say before that I'm ready for my next adventure! And I am. But it's not coming. I'm still here, doing the dishes, visiting my great Aunt and doing secretarial work for my dad's business. All of these are good things, I know that fully, but sometimes they feel so...well, insignificant.

This morning I picked up Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris and read a chapter called Small Hard Things. It was so encouraging!

"In Rudyard Kipling's novel Captains Courageous, fifteen-year-old Harvey Cheyne, the son of a wealthy railroad tycoon, is washed overboard from a transatlantic steamship and rescued by fishermen.
Cold, wet, and forgotten for the first time in his spoiled existence, Harvey at first tries to convince the fishermen of his parents' great wealth. He wants them to abandon their fishing season and take him ashore, where he promises his father will reward them generously. But his please don't work. In the end he is forced to earn his keep mending nets and gutting fish.
At first Harvey can't believe his bad luck. The backbreaking work, the long hours, the stench, and the cold and wet disgust and overwhelm him. But over time, Harvey mysteriously changes. His body toughens. He learns to use his hands and his head to perform the tasks and weather the trials of fishing on the open sea. He begins to actually enjoy the hardships and to admire the strength and intelligence of his new companions.
When the boat finally returns to port, Harvey wires his parents who rush to the small town. Amazed, they find a transformed son. Their lazy, demanding boy has become an industrious, serious, and considerate young man. No longer needing or wanting his mother's constant doting, Harvey is ready to start a successful career in his father's shipping lines.
Maybe you feel forgotten and alone, grinding away at pointless routines that seem guaranteed to lead you nowhere...The truth is that your life (both now and later) will require you to invest a lot of time and energy into things that aren't big and that don't seem to make much of an impact. Some days they don't even make sense.

Sometimes the smallest things can be the hardest things of all."

Why are the small hard things so difficult? The book gives us a list of the top five reasons:

They don't usually go away after you do them. whew! I agree with this one. No sooner have I cleaned the living room, and it's messy again. Or if I exercise today, I still need to exercise tomorrow and the next day too.

2. They don't seem very important. Especially when "well meaning" strangers inform you of how important your life is. *sigh* does it never end?

3. They don't seem to make a difference. My mom is sweet and tells me how important my helping her and dad is, and I super appreciate it. But this point is still very true in my life, especially when I do something over and over and over.

4. They don't seem very glamorous. Yes.

No one is watching. Again, yes.

"Doing hard things is how we exercise our bodies, our minds and our faith. Small hard things are the individual repetitions - like a single push-up. They are seempingly insignificant by themselves but guaranteed to get results over time."

God even talks about this in His Word: "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men." Colossians 3:23

I just LOVE this from Martin Luther King Jr. -

"If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, sweep streets like Beethoven composed music...Sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will have to pause and say: Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well."

So now I'm encouraged. Ready to tackle my t0-do list for today with zest and vigor! Even if what I'm doing sounds silly and insignificant (doing the dishes, laundry, exercising...) I'm able to realize that being able to do those things with a sweet heart and for the glory of God will train my heart and mind, strengthening me day by day for whatever comes next.


Rachel and Sarah said...

Hey Elisa! I really needed to read this! My heart has been pretty selfish recently. If the small, hard things don't benefit or please me, I have a hard time inwardly doing them with a good attitude! thanks! -Rachel

Catherine said...

Amen! Thanks for the encouraging quotes!!! :)

Morgan said...

Great post! Very encouraging! Thank you for sharing!

James said...

Score, So ture.

Kimberly said...

good post. my life is MADE of small things. :) I think appreciating the small stuff is a lifetime lesson