Sunday, August 22, 2010

Think Small

One of the lessons I brought home from my most recent week at the Academy for Spiritual Formation was to think small. Roberta Bondi reminded us that overcoming the behaviors that separate us from God takes time, a LONG time. In fact, we'll spend our whole lifetimes overcoming the things that separate us from God. This is something I really struggle with because I want to be different instantly, and I also want to do grand and glorious things for God.

For me to be content with small changes and small efforts is a test of faithfulness. Over the past week or so, I've felt God's message for me is that I need to persevere and pay attention to how he is at work in me and in the world. I have made some changes in my life to mitigate how my lifestyle choices oppress God's creation and my fellow creatures (human and otherwise), yet I know that I need to do more and I struggle to remain patient with myself as I make these changes. I am trying to celebrate the changes I've made, such as recycling, minimizing the use of disposable items and not purchasing meat raised inhumanely. The list of other changes I want to make is long, but beating myself up over those things not yet done is neither encouraging nor helpful.

I've just started reading Shane Claiborne's book, The Irresistable Revolution. Something he said in the introduction encourages me in my effort to think small: ". . . we live in a world that has lost its appreciation for small things. We live in a world that wants things bigger and bigger. We want to supersize our fries, sodas, and church buildings. But amid all the supersizing, many of us feel God is doing something new, something small and subtle. This thing Jesus called the kingdom of God is emerging across the globe in the most unexpected places, a gentle whisper amid the chaos." 

I realize that my own bias toward big, sweeping change is a product of the world I've been living in. Thinking small is countercultural, but it is consistent with the way Jesus did ministry. Yes, he fed two huge groups and made wine for a large wedding party, but most of his ministry was one on one, person to person. And he is still at work in the world, mostly in small ways. As I attempt to think small, I hope I will be more aware of the gentle whisper of God instead of being overwhelmed by the chaos.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, I love it, Ann! Think small. I really believe that this is the heart of Jesus. It is so easy to get lost in the mess of this world, but it is so good to be reminded of the small ways he works.