Faithfulness in the Small and Slow
It’s that time of year, when everyone is thinking, writing, and making new resolutions for another year. I’ve been praying over what the Lord would have me this learn, change, be, and do this coming year. Though I haven’t nailed down my exact resolutions for 2018, I’m convinced and resolute about the heart motives that will motivate them.
In the next few days you’ll be bombarded with all.the.planners, charts, downloadables, organizational tools, and apps that promise to revolutionize your house cleaning or school, so you can get more out of life.
Is this what we really need? More? Do we need to do more and do it faster? Who will this benefit in the end? Will these tools make us more loving people? Will we value others more, or will people just become cogs in our wheel, and will we view them as distractions and inconveniences when they get in the way of our plans?
I say at the end of our lives, efficiency, production, grandiose plans–those things won’t matter. These realizations make planning so hard for me because much of my “plans” can quickly become self-serving and me-centered.
The Lord keeps quietly impressing on my heart ” faithfulness in the small and slow.”
When I read God’s Word and take note of the women in the Bible who loved and served God, their lives were made up of the small and slow. God’s will was accomplished through their mundane and unspectacular lives.
So, this is the year of the small and slow for me. I laugh as I type this because my life is anything but slow. We have an upcoming wedding, travel plans, and a full house. So what exactly do I mean by this?
In my heart of hearts, I know this means caring for our children, including teaching my daughters at home.
I’ve purchased several devotional books to go through with my teen girls, and in January we begin No Matter What by Michelle Grover. We’ll probably meet twice a week to go over the chapters and then go over the answers. I feel that teaching my own children about God is one of my primary purposes as a mom. What a shame if we as mothers sign up to teach our neighbors a Bible study, or run a class at church, or teach the teen girls the Bible, but neglect to teach our own children faithfully at home. Satan loves to draw us toward a million good things that are not the best things. The lure of “bigger and better” is an easy snare in a “go big or go home” world.
For personal study, I’m planning to journal through my Journaling Psalter from Peter (on sale, by the way!).
This past fall I studied Proverbs and I’ve learned a lot about what a wise woman does and doesn’t do, what she values, and what she avoids. (I’ll be writing about that more in January!) But this winter, I want to study the Psalms because I want to know more about the God I worship. I think the winter is the perfect time to reflect on all we know about God through the prayer of David and other psalmists.
Outside of Bible study, small faithfulness is hard to map out. It depends on life stage and responsibilities.
Your “small faithfulness” may look very different from mine because we each have so many different dynamics to our lives.
- I am a mom of a large family. (You may be a single lady. )
- We homeschool. (You may send your kids to school.)
- We are in ministry. (You may be in the process of looking for a church family.)
- I encourage younger moms over coffee. (You may be looking for someone to mentor you.)
- I love to have people over for meals and lunches. (You may dread company.)
- I have a large extended family and forty years of “close-in-proximity” friendships that I must maintain. (You may have just moved and are putting down roots. )
My “small” faithfulness at church might look like visiting my friend who is sick, delivering a message, calling someone who is discouraged, meeting with that woman who asked for parenting help– on top of my other normal ministry responsibilities.
At school, it may look like reading aloud to the kids and carefully watching the progress of my foster son.
In the home, it may look like keeping up with our cleaning schedule, keeping the laundry at bay, and planning and starting dinner so we can all sit down and regroup at the end of the day.
In friendships, it may play out in writing notes of encouragement and making time to meet for coffee. In my devotional life it may look like listening to the gentle prodding of the Holy Spirit to change or yield or apologize for a wrong doing.
When we are faithful in the small, we value integrity, character, and felicity over the fly-by-night or self-centered. Faithfulness chooses the important over what is convenient/comfortable in the moment.
I also want to be faithful in the slow.
- I want to listen well, sit with my kids and be all there.
- I want to savor and meditate on God’s Word and “think on these things” throughout the day.
- I want to embrace my husband and make time to be his friend.
- I want to enjoy every moment with our foster son.
When we slow down we can appreciate. We can notice and give thanks.
Slow-living means we don’t fear that we’ll miss out, because we are too busy enjoying what we have.
When we slow, we block out the noise of the gossip, drama, or internet news and opinion, and we think for ourselves and evaluate our thoughts.
When we slow down enough to meditate on God’s Word, we see beauty in the midst of dirty dishes, hormonal teens, and toddler training.
I plan to invest bit-by-bit in friendships that are ministry based, service minded, mutually respectful, and genuinely loving and supportive. I want to get things done for Christ in my kitchen, my community, church, and this corner of the internet.
At the end of each year, people come, people go, children grow, the best laid plans fail, people pass away, and time rushes by, but Jesus remains. His calling and election is sure, His Word never fails, and His will should trump all of our other plans and resolutions. If we can be anything in 2018, let us be wholly committed to Jesus, let us faithfully serve Him, and not be so busy that we miss the gifts that are right in front of us.
What about you? Have you made resolutions? If not, what’s the heart behind your thinking about 2018? What resources will you use?