As a reforming perfectionist, I’m all about a grand gesture.
I don’t want to clean one room of my house. I want the whole house clean. I don’t want to play tennis. I want to win a match. I don’t want teach school. I want to be teacher of the year. I don’t want to weed a flower bed. I want the whole yard landscaped.
Sometimes enormous visions are wonderful, but there’s an inherent problem with them. When we’re prone to demand big results, it often means that we do nothing. Often little steps have bigger value than grand gestures.
It’s better to vacuum my bedroom than to do nothing because I don’t have time to clean the whole house. It’s better to take a tennis lesson than to continue to sit on my ever-widening tooshy. It’s better to care about each child in my class than to look for public recognition. It’s better to pull a few weeds than to let them swallow the one section of thriving zinnias.
And (note to self) it’s better to take one little step at a time to make a difference in your world to do a little good than to do nothing at all.
As I wrote last week, my grand gesture was a trip to India, but I knew that God wanted me to continue to make a difference right where I lived. For some reason, that seemed so much harder. I knew so little, the needs were so big, and I felt paralyzed. Finally, I realized that to move forward I had to take some baby-steps.
Giving Up Grand Gestures
The first step needed was to give up my big ideas. I was limited by:
- Time- It was easy to invest full-time on a trip, but at home I had family, friend, and work commitments that just left a few hours a week. Even that time had to be cleared with a “no” or two!
- Resources- I didn’t have the disposable income to simply write a big check to my favorite non-profit or to go back to school to get a social work degree.
- My Current Calling- While part of me thought it would be noteworthy and noble to dive all-in to serve hurting women full time, I knew that God had already called me to speaking and writing which is just a different way to build His Kingdom.
I finally found peace when I realized that I didn’t have to ditch everything to do what God was asking. All I had to do was take one small step at a time.
Seek God for One Thing
Even when I sought to take one step into serving in my community, I was faced with an enormous choice. Where should I invest my time? There are so many worthy organizations in Wake Co. that help women, and each one had merits of its own. I couldn’t decided.
In our book, Exhale, Cheri Gregory says that we each have a “need with your name on it.” Don’t you love that? We don’t have to do everything to do something. Finding that one thing to do often involves:
- Finding an organization with values that fit yours.
- Choosing a place where your natural gifts are needed
When I researched organization like that, I ran into one called Interact, an organization in Wake Co. with lots of services for women under one roof: domestic violence counseling, post-rape exams, Easter Seals, and even an organization that specifically reached out to women in my community from Southeast Asia.
God moved my heart and let me know that this was the place to invest. Feeling very humbled by my lack of experience (as in ZERO), I gave them a call to find out details about how I could volunteer, and then I dove in.
Have you ever had to give up over-the-top-visions so that you could take one needed step?
Note: My tech guru and I are playing with ways to make the emails readable for you. Thank you for your patience as we fine-tune! My 52-year-old eyes couldn’t read last week’s either!
Have you met these sisters, Breaking Up with Perfect and Exhale? If you’re a reforming perfectionist, just like me, who is working to end your own pursuit of perfection, the older sister is for you. Exhale is my newest book, and it’s really a continuation of that journey. I know the Scriptural lessons in these books work because they’ve changed my life! Give them a peek today.