Posted in Christian Living, Christianity, Living, Love

Tiny Steps Make Great Feats

I have a friend who shares my proclivity to demand perfection of ourselves and the grand ability to beat ourselves up when we fall far short of the over-reaching goals we have set for ourselves. Lately, our conversations have circled around the concept of “magnificence.” In other words, we are trying to make it OK for ourselves that we are not going to be “magnificent.”
Then, I have to stop us. Whenever we make statements like this, we are shortchanging ourselves in so many ways. First, we are denying the truth behind what we define as magnificent. Of course, our definition is much too tied to the ways of this world. Because we haven’t made millions or written the country’s greatest novel, we are failures in our own eyes. That definition, in itself, though, is a failure in the eyes of God, who even when He came to earth in the form of man, did not seek stardom, even shunning the crowds that thronged toward Him as much as possible at times, asking those He had healed to keep the event to themselves.
This is when we are better served to remind ourselves that God’s version of magnificence is a tiny mustard seed, which, once planted, can be nurtured by the Spirit into a truly wonderful plant. Our actions aren’t the thing that make the end result, however. God is interested in the mustard seed size actions we take that, culminating together, create the final, magnificent result.
Maybe our small actions are simple things like holding open a door, smiling to those we meet, or stopping to help someone change a flat tire. Perhaps they are actions that are a little more involved like making a meal for someone who is ill, or cleaning house for someone who cannot do the job him/herself. Maybe the action is being privileged enough to be the first person to share her gospel experience with a person who has never had the opportunity to know Jesus.
When I look out my back window and watch the robins and cardinals and squirrels scampering in my backyard, a plethora of color and motion that reminds me what it means to be peacefully human, I sometimes think about the ways that God speaks to us in just as tiny a motion as the mustard seed He also requires. Hasn’t He more often been a whisper in the wind than earth-shattering thunder?
It’s hard to re-define success in a world surrounded by capitalistic ideals, but my friend and I keep on trying, holding each other accountable for the moments when we berate our mustard seed actions and long for superhero status. The prideful will be humbled, God warns us. We do our best each day to humble ourselves before we need to be humbled. Paying attention to our mustard seed actions is a good way to stay on the right side of humility. I’m getting older, and my knees can’t take another fall.


I am a 40-something Texan with a feisty cat and a supportive husband of 20 years. With a Master's degree in English with an emphasis on creative writing, I have taught creative writing at Texas Tech, won awards for my writing and been blessed to be mentored by Horn Professor and poet Dr. Walt McDonald. I earn a living by helping my husband's family run a health food store, but my avocation is writing. I hope you enjoy reading about some of my triumphs and tragedies as I continue to work on figuring out what life is all about and on growing my ability to share my writing. May your own journey be a blessed one.

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