Doing What You Can
There are a lot of things we really can’t control at all. This time of chaos and unpredictability that we are collectively experiencing really highlights that to all of us. We can’t control how quickly stores get toilet paper, we can’t control the actions of others, we can’t control a virus and who it chooses to infect. However, although we can’t control any of those things and so many others that are beyond our realm of very, very limited power, we can control our actions always.
One of my mom’s favorite phrases of advice to repeat to me and my sister growing up was, “you can’t control what other people choose to do, but you can always control your own actions.” This doesn’t mean that that is always going to feel fair or that it can even always give us the outcome we want. It does teach though, that we can let go and worry less about what others do, because outside of the use of physical force (which I really cannot recommend to you) we can’t really make people make good choices. All we can do is focus on what is in our little reach of control every day, and that’s ourselves.
The serenity prayer is:
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
Maybe right now, you are hurting and stressed because your options feel limited by what is going on in your life right now. You might feel limited by travel, or health, or wealth, or any number of things. The truth is though, while we may not be able to take the big steps or we may not be able to take the steps we expected to be able to right now, in the year of our Lord 2020– God, bless it– there are things we can still do and have control over.
I want to challenge you today to take inventory of your current state of affairs inside of your heart. I want you to allow yourself to dream the big dream, to let the vision go as high and wide as it will. Ask God today where He is wanting to take you, with all the limits and borders gone, where is the vision, what is the end goal? It is important in this time to still allow ourselves to think about the big ideas and longings. I think that is possible that now, when so much is stripped away, that we are able to listen to the core desires of our heart better than we ever could before. So, figure out what that is and then give it a real tight squeeze in your grasp for a second with me.
Do we have the power to make these great big dreams happen right here today? Most likely not. Are we even able to take some big gigantic strides towards it today? Maybe not. However, I want you to think of what your great big dreams are and think of at least 3 or 5 little things you can do in the right here, right now that bring you closer to your dream. No baby step is too small, no inch in the right direction can be considered insignificant.
Maybe you want to get in shape, but you don’t have the confidence, knowledge, or adequate space to really start working out right now. Okay, let’s look up some at home work-outs that look fun. I’m not even talking about doing the work-outs, let’s just watch them and learn about correct form and different tips right now. That is progress!
Maybe getting in shape isn’t your dream, maybe you are wanting to start your own small business or side hustle for yourself, but this economy ain’t it right now. That’s okay! Start writing your ideas and plans! Doodle some logo and slogan ideas! Make a list of the kind of inventory you want to have! Spend some of this quarantine time calling friends and acquaintances that can give you advice! That is progress!
Right now for me one of my dreams that I’ve been spending time with is my dream to one day write a book. So, I’ve taken an online class. I’ve created a website for my portfolio and writing. This blog itself is one of my baby steps towards my dream. So is my email newsletter (which you should really subscribe to at the bottom of this page, because once a month you will get content that will be found nowhere else as well as get to become involved in an online community of support and encouragement…ending shameless self-promotion now). These steps feel really small most days, but they are steps, and I am proud of myself for making them because this is what I can do right now. This is progress!
So, maybe you have felt a little powerless in your own life lately, like maybe the small steps aren’t steps worth taking. However, I want to encourage you today and reaffirm that the small steps are still steps that are worth taking. Any step that gets you closer to your goal is something to be proud of and excited about! You are already closer today than you were yesterday. There are so many things that we can’t control today, that we don’t get a say in, that we don’t have a choice with. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t still so many decisions and choices that are within our reach and control today though. Maybe you can’t control the world around you, but you get to control your actions. My momma would want you to know that that is more than enough control for one person and it is such an important responsibility and I want you to know the same.
Today take the time to dream the big dream, give it a squeeze, and ask yourself what are the baby steps you can take right now, today. Make a list and figure out where the starting line is. Let’s ask God to give us peace over the things we cannot change today. Let’s request the outright boldness to take the small steps we can control. Let’s ask for the wisdom to tell the difference. Allow yourself today to find joy in the slow progress. Remember that we are all doing what we can in the very best way we know how and that is really and truly good enough.