When I first moved to Alberta, I lived in Red Deer, which at the time had a population of 65,000. Coming from a town and farm life of 250 people, that was massive to me. I was so nervous every time I had ever driven in the city before, that white-knuckles could’ve been my driving name.
But in 1999, my sister and I made the nine hour trek west and began a new life. I was in Bible School, and figured that in order to learn the city, and avoid turning the wrong way on a one-way street, if I could just find Taylor Drive and Gaetz Ave, I would be okay. Both of these streets ran north-south and were the main streets through the city. A friend used to tease me about this, but I figured that anything I needed would be off one of those two streets, and if I could just start there in learning, then I could adjust better.
Well, the other day I was driving in Edmonton, a city with nearly one million people. And I find myself with the same default – if I can just find my way to Whitemud Dr, Anthony Henday, or Yellowhead, then I can get my bearings. Flashback to 16 years ago, and here I am learning a new city with the same default – start with small wins, and then go and grow from there.
And, as it does in my brain, it made me think about how God so graciously sanctifies and works in my life. Little wins at a time; showing me small areas of the heart that need changing, that will eventually lead to bigger impact. It made me think about how God rarely (does He ever in your life?!) shows you the whole picture of your life, but gives you small steps, small areas to be obedient in, one sin that needs repenting of, rather than overloading you with everything all at once.
I think as much as we WANT to know the whole picture, see it all, God knows us better, and knows that little bits, little wins, little steps, actually makes more progress overall.
I am, more often than not, the kind of person that likes to know the outcome before I set out on a journey. Will this be worth my effort? Will I actually finish? Will it be awesome? But right now, I feel more and more that I have to cultivate obedience with what’s in front of me, rather than knowing the outcome or if it will meet my expectation.
I had to find one or two roads to keep finding my way home when I first moved to Alberta, and eventually, I knew the city like the back of my hand, even as it grew. Now, I start over again, learning a new area.
For me it was a picture of what God is pointing me to in this season – remember what He last showed me in my heart, keep giving that to Him, and eventually, bigger growth will be seen.
Luke 16:10 (Message) says “If you’re honest in small things, you’ll be honest in big things…” or in the Amplified it says, “He who is faithful in a very little thing, is faithful also in much…”
I guess Jesus is laying the pattern out for us – how you start with little things has great impact and weight on the big things. In fact, it actually determines the big things.
So I would encourage you to keep coming back to Him. Keep giving that sin, that frustration, that weight to Him. And eventually, over time, as that is your default, your pattern, you will see victory. I know that sounds simple, and there is so much more to the process than that, but for me, it paints a picture…
Never forget your way home, and start small with what’s in front of you.