Three years ago I wrote the blog post below entitled, “I’m Going to Dream Small This Year.” Today I reread it and decided to post it again. This is a major spoiler alert (it’s my blog, so I can spoil it if I want) but it’s about faithfully doing the little things in life. About dreaming small.
Little mundane tasks.
Gettin’ it done.
Today is New Year’s Eve, and as I scroll through my social media pages I see many references to big dreams and lofty goals. Our small group is coming over this evening, and on our agenda (along with lots of eating) is to review what our goals were last year and what our new goals are for 2017.
There’s a new year on the cusp. A blank calendar. A crisp page ready for life to splash across it.
The new year causes us to look ahead. To dream. To make goals.
And once again, I want to dream small.
I feel kind of strange saying that because tonight, when I share my goal for the year with my friends, I’m going to tell them it is to publish a book (again with the spoiler!) Publishing a book seems like a big goal. And believe me, I’m nervous, and giddy, and it feels rather daunting. It’s a big deal (more details to come later. I can’t spoil everything in one blog post.)
But, the process of writing the book has been a three-year journey. There have been countless little tasks, bit-sized goals, and mundane days of writing. I didn’t know while I was faithfully sitting down and doing the hard work in the little things, that it would some day pay off in a bigger thing. But, sometimes it does.
And, sometimes it doesn’t.
I don’t do the little things in hopes that they will lead to a big thing. I just do the little things because that’s what I know how to do. To finish the task in front of me to the best of my ability. To do that mundane thing again. And again. And to do it well.
Because big dreams are actually made up of a heaping pile of small dreams.
It’s time to get to work.
Here’s to dreaming small in 2017!
I’m a day late and at least a dollar short.
It’s January 2nd and I haven’t made any official resolutions or goals yet for 2014. I’m still in “Christmas Break Mode” and I consider the fact that I did laundry today a pretty big accomplishment. Well, I haven’t folded it yet, but I did move it from the washer to the dryer. Yep, time for a break.
Anyway, I’ve been feeling a little anxious about not having any huge goals or big dreams for this new year. The world seems to be telling me that I need to dream big, shoot for the stars, be a pioneer in my day, blaze the trails and do it all with gusto. Even my spam emails are asking me if I want to eat healthier, lose weight, travel more and save money. I feel like I’m supposed to accomplish something epic before the ball drops again (the ball in Times Square, not me ‘dropping the ball’ …although that’s possible too).
But do my hopes and dreams for 2014 have to be so grandiose? If everything has to be so epic these days then nothing really is epic at all. I think I sometimes get caught up in thinking that if I’m not doing something that’s perceived as magnificent or worthy of sharing on Facebook then I’m not succeeding. But, I don’t think that’s true.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating being lazy and complacent this year. I’m simply feeling stirred to do the small things well.
And as I’m doing the small things with excellence I may actually do something seen as big and honorable that others would admire, but I may not. I could make a mark on society, but I probably won’t even make much of an impact on my neighborhood. And I think that’s ok.
I’ve been studying the book of Matthew this year in a Bible study. We’ve been reading a lot of Jesus’ teachings and I’ve noticed that He likes to bring up a particular verse. It’s from the Old Testament and was written hundreds of years before He even walked on the earth, but I’ve found it’s still applicable to me today. Hey, if it was important to Jesus, it must be good.
Hosea 6:6 says,
For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.
This convicts me. Jesus repeatedly tells the Pharisees and His disciples that he wants their obedience, not their fancy words or displays of upholding the law. Jesus doesn’t seem as interested in a vision, big dreams or having a list of accomplishments, as he does our hearts.
So, with that in mind I’m going to try to dream small this year. I’m not going to aim to do anything epic or monumental and if I do, then may it just be a consequence of a heart that loves God and loves people.
I want to do things that society would view as small, but that God views as big.
Things like being kind to someone when I don’t feel like it or being joyful in the midst of a hectic schedule on a gloomy day.
Things like being patient when my child has asks me for the fourth time, “What comes after 39?”
Things like noticing that the lady behind me in line at the grocery store has a fussy baby and tired eyes and then asking her if she’d like to go ahead of me in line because I can stand to wait a bit longer.
Like listening at the school committee meeting with an open mind and willing hands so that I can help make a difference in my community by simply serving where I’m needed.
Like taking the time and energy to train and teach my children to be independent instead of frustratedly doing things for them all of the time.
Like extending grace to my husband when I feel frustrated that he forgot to take out the trash and instead thanking him that evening for all that he does for our family every single day.
Yes, things like that.
They are small dreams.
Basically I’m just hoping to love God and people better… and love myself less.
I’m pretty sure my goals for 2014 are about as opposite of epic as you can get. And I’m glad about that.
I’ve got small dreams for 2014 and I am ready to get started.
And I guess I’ll have to fold that laundry in the dryer sometime this year too.