“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien,
Tiny choices. Normal conversations. Daily routines. A few seconds spent here and there.
These little things are not occasional time-outs from the epic, world-shattering, defining moments of my life.
They are my life.
You see, life isn’t often reshaped by an earthquake. More often, the slow erosion of wind and time and age does the shaping.
Change creeps up on us. Growth comes so slowly sometimes that we wonder if we are growing at all. Our faces never look different from day to day, but we watch the mirror and they somehow morph from childhood to maturity to old age, transforming unnoticed in front of our eyes. We set the course of our lives and one day look around to see that this is not the place we thought we were headed, for better or for worse.
This is the power of a moment.
Today, I woke up with 16 hours to spend. 960 minutes. 57, 600 seconds. I won’t save the world today. I will spend most, if not all, of this day in what people call “ordinary life.” I will clock in at work, write a blog post, unload the dishwasher, paint with watercolors, read a book, take a walk.
I won’t reach perfection today. Instead, I will try to love in the moment, choosing to focus on the person in front of me instead of the project in front of me. I will pray to speak the right things and have the right attitudes. I will strive, fall, get up again, and dust off my scraped knees.
These moments that people call ordinary is where almost all of life really happens. These little things are the things that reshape my soul and reorient my life’s direction.
My glorious resolutions have to have feet–and their “feet” are today’s choices. How I choose to think, how I choose to spend my 960 minutes, how I complete the most basic tasks are the real me. My best and worst moments do not define me as much as all the in-between choices do.
My life is a process of being transformed and renewed.
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
– Romans 12:2, NASB –
Jesus doesn’t generally call us to a life of non-stop action. He calls us to everyday faithfulness. I don’t have to hunt for a new adventure, a “more-important” adventure.
“It is ingrained in us that we have to do exceptional things for God—but we do not. We have to be exceptional in the ordinary things of life, and holy on the ordinary streets, among ordinary people—and this is not learned in five minutes.”– Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest –
And little things are not just about choices and change.
Little things are also about meaning and beauty and wonder.
Wouldn’t it be tragic if we could count all the beautiful moments of life on just our fingers? A handful of exciting travels and life-changing events are just a tiny portion of the beauty of an entire life.
I don’t want to be able to number my treasures on one hand. I want to open my eyes and see the surprises and tiny gifts. I want to number every day’s gifts on a thousand fingers. I want to fall in love with the ordinary moments that God has granted to me. If He ordained for most of my life to spent in this way, how can I doubt the value of the small and ordinary?
“There is a daily-ness to my work, a small-moment perspective that whispers for me to connect with the work in my right-now hands, not because it’s going to become something Big and Important, but because Someone who is Big and Important is here, with me, in me, today.”
– Emily Freeman, Simply Tuesday –
The hilarious quips of my ten-year-old movie buddy.
How children understand deep things.
How faces light up when people are encouraged.
Watching a boy grow into a man.
Finding insights in a Bible verse that I’ve never noticed before.
How beautiful people are when they are doing what they’re good at.
The way the light twinkles in the morning.
Problems that are leading to something good.
Growth even when I can’t see.
There is too much goodness around me to ignore, whether today is an easy day or a hard day. Whether the sun comes out or the rain falls. Whether I can see God’s hand in my circumstances or not.
The little things matter.
“But we urge you, brethren, to excel still more [in love], and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you….”– 1 Thessalonians 4:1ob-11, NASB –