(Cover art courtesy of Pure Publicity)
On Feeling Small
Taken from Dear Daughters: Love Letters to the Next Generation by Susie Davis. Copyright © 2019 by Susie Davis Published by Abingdon Press, Nashville, TN. Used by permission of Abingdon Press. www.AbingdonPress.com.
It’s like this: Much of my time is spent doing the menial thing. So if my view is that God doesn’t give a care about teeny, tiny me down in Austin, Texas, standing in my PJs folding laundry, then I have a worthless life. And if I believe I have a worthless life, I either become despondent or strive to make my life worthwhile by doing certain things or trying to become a certain someone. We choose to either embrace the fact that God cares about even the small things we do, or we reject it.
So what will you do? Accept your life as lovely and valuable to God right where you are, doing what you’re doing? Or step outside of that God reality and try to make yourself more important?
I know it’s anti-cultural to adopt a “small is important” kind of life. But think on this: What if Jesus had rejected all the “small” things in his life and strived for more? I doubt very much that we would have a Savior. I don’t think he would have chosen to do the things he did. Instead he stayed wholly focused on God’s plans for his life, which included becoming so small that he died a criminal’s death.
The thought of it crushes me into gratitude because it means doing small things doesn’t make me small, either. Even being mistreated doesn’t make me small. It’s actually in dying to striving for importance that makes me big. When I choose serenity inside the small places in my life, I am following in his footsteps.
So yes, that means I get over the mental battle with my ego (because it is my ego trying to mark “small” as “unimportant”) and start thanking God for my assignments right where I am.
Which brings me to my second thought: gratitude is paramount to inner significance. And gratitude starts right where you are, in your everyday life.
So for me, it means saying, “Thank you, God, for nice warm towels to fold. Thank you for this cute little enamel table I found secondhand. For the way folding laundry calms me and slows me down. Thank you for this chance to have a quiet minute with you. Thank you.”
What about you? Look at your todo list as an opportunity for creative worship. Where is the hidden worship in your list of things to do?
One more quote from Brother Lawrence. He says, “We must make our hearts a spiritual temple, wherein to adore him incessantly.” How do we get to ceaseless worship? Sweep out the thinking that in life there is a big line dividing important work and unimportant work. Sit squarely inside this idea of “grace to work” and gratitude, relentlessly adoring God.
Does that sound outlandish?
Unattainable? Ask God for help. What does your prayer sound like? Speak it out, write it out, get it out. And realize, even in the asking, that you are entering into the act of adoring God as your provider.
I’ll leave you with Thérèse de Lisieux’s words. She says, “Holiness consists simply in doing God’s will, and being just what God wants us to be.”
Here is what God wants me to be today: a garden-tender, an errandrunner, a house-tidier, a note-writer, a wife, a daughter.
I am reminded that when I am doing those simple, little things, I am pleasing him.
I hope this was a reminder to you too.