Almost all of any new growth I’ve ever experienced in spirit could be mapped like the rings of a tree from my prayer journals. Tracing back to August 28, 2015, I can put my finger directly on the line of a new season where I first asked God specifically for vision. I think so often we pray without immediate response we subconsciously assume our request be not Thy will or, more likely, life gets in our eye and we move to the next. There is nothing so wrong with that as any words we scatter will find themselves seeded in spite of ourselves. However, there is a dizzying taste of the supernatural when we recognize the sweet fruit of the faithful attending of wearing God out with a good desire He puts in our hands. I can’t say I was the model of warring in prayer by never missing a day and fasting for extra discernment, but I can see a clear ring of evidence in the words written every few pages in my journal as a reminder of my years of asking.
“I have too many big ideas in my head,” I sighed to my husband one evening in the early fall. My mind lately had been a hive, and each thought a busy bee working back and forth from heart to head. All that buzzing had blown a fuse from head to hands, and I felt overwhelmed by the size of each task. It seemed that God had given me exactly what I had been asking for, and it had me spinning in the most ineffective way.
“I just don’t know how I’m supposed to write these books, start a citywide revolution, get Congress to pass this law and keep us in clean underwear too.”
My husband, after all our years together, has learned to recognize when one or all of my wheels has fallen off the tracks and deftly fixes course: “You know how to eat an elephant, don’t you?”
The look on my face must have told him I had never even considered the idea.
“You eat an elephant one bite at a time.” He said this as if it were the most natural thought in the world, and the arrow of wisdom found its mark as a grin across my face.
In some seasons, I think, dreams can only begin as a very small portion that need to be fed bit by bit to fully grow into the vision God intended to be served up all along. The end is unimaginable from the beginning, and the whole is only seen after the sum of the parts. Other times, we may see a dizzying banquet and have the task of working backwards to the ingredients in a single bite. The thing one requires for success in our obedience is the same for both: faithfully abiding the small.
Books get written, mountains get climbed, and babies get raised one word, step, and day at a time. This is nothing new under the sun, and the oldest advice is usually the freshest. But I find I need reminding often. If some days I am confused about whether I need to be raising a book or climbing a clean pile of laundry, I need only ask the Author of these big dreams.
I am always finding the simple asking is attending my small portion for that day. I figure if God sees fit to give us elephants, it makes sense He would tell us how to eat them too.
Here is a favorite recipe known for its spicy-sweet complement for your small bites:
- 1/2 cup instant tea powder
- 1 cup sweetened lemonade powder
- 1 cup orange-flavored drink mix (I use Tang)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well and store in an airtight container.
- To serve, put 2-3 teaspoons of mix in a mug and add boiling water. Adjust to taste.
- My girls and I like to quadruple this or so and take it to the neighbors in large, labeled mason jars when it's cold outside.
- I think the tea serves its name: we're pretty sure we've made some friends this way.