Monday, March 15, 2010

How Do You Eat An Elephant?

Before I begin I have to say I've been trying to write this post for an hour. My hypersensitive keyboard reacted to some shortcut key I accidentally grazed (I type fairly quickly) and deleted the post about five paragraphs in. Three times in a row.

About a month ago I was having lunch with my mom and we were discussing a bad habit I have. I was expressing my frustration that I hadn't yet broken this particular habit after much prayer and time. I was waiting for the inside-out-180-degree-turn variety of overcoming the problem. One day I would just stop. Cold turkey. A new creation.

So far, that hasn't been the case.

My mom suggested I might try tackling it one little decision at a time. I was offended. Deeply.

In my Christian walk I have had this attitude from time to time that if I prayed hard enough and long enough and patiently enough eventually I would have the answer manifested in me. No disrespect to the power of prayer, but I'm starting to think I might have to actually work this behavior out a little bit at a time while I'm at it.

So the habit is impulse buys. And I'm really good at it. I'm also good at justifying it since they are usually less than $5 a pop. I decided maybe mom had a point and that I would try to make one decision on one occasion and put her method into action. I went into my favorite store (Gap) with a $25 gift card on a Saturday and I was alone.

But wait, there's was only.

Did I mention I was alone?

I tried on a lot of clothes, but in the end I left with four tops for which I paid $3.67 out of pocket. A small victory.

Just prior to entering Gap I had stopped in a bookstore and was browsing in the journal section. One of the covers read "You can cover great distances one step at a time." Okay God. I'll take your challenge.

Since then there have been no fewer than five more occasions when I have been reminded by various people in various settings of this one theme...when the mountain before you seems overwhelming, when the task ahead makes it a little hard to breathe...roll up your sleeves and take one step forward. That might be as far as you get that day.

I was sitting in a small group study recently with some other women and we were sharing some previous challenges and disappointments. We talked about our tendency to choose other people's approval over God's. And we all longed for the day we would never do that again. The day seemed a long way off. Then one of them said every time we choose God's approval over someone elses it pleases Him right then and makes us more like Him. So a couple of days later I remembered to please Him instead of the people in front of me. Another victory.

I look around this house and sometimes all I can see is everything that needs to be done. I sort through paperwork and I begin to feel more like I'm shuffling sheet metal. It's heavy stuff. But if I can take care of one piece instead of putting off all of it till I have time for them all, I have another victory. I did that this morning.

How do you eat an elephant?

One bite at a time.

1 comment:

Carmelita Baza said...

Hey Laura-

I have a similar challenge with our home and it's organization (or more correctly, the lack thereof). My wonderful hubby told me the "How do you eat an elephant" thing and it really does help. At least at the end of my day I feel like I've accomplished something rather than just throwing up my hands and giving up completely. Here's to eating elephants!