A Year of Habits, no. 9
I’ve been sitting here for ten minutes wondering what to type. I am at a complete loss in gauging any progress in building helpful habits in my life and home. We’re far enough into the year that I feel stressed about my seeming lack of improvement, making me worry that December will suddenly be here and I’ll still be lacking the steady, consistent life I crave.
My feelings tonight are perhaps best voiced by the disciples of Jesus Christ in John 6:9. Jesus was teaching the five thousand, and they needed food. A conversation commenced among the Master and his disciples regarding what to do. Then Andrew offered this information:
“There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes, but what are they among so many?”
What are they among so many?
This is precisely what I wonder about the few small things I have accomplished. They seem so insignificant, so insufficient, as to be unworthy even of mention when I look at what really needs to be done, at what my family really needs and deserves.
What are my small efforts among so many needs?
I sat in Relief Society today and listened to a lesson about putting Christ first in our lives, and finding that we can actually “fit it all in” if we do that. I sat there, believing it to be true while another part of me silently screamed, “But what about when you multiply it all by eight?” It’s just so huge.
But I learned a long time ago that it’s just my number. It’s only huge to me. Nobody really cares. And trying to share it with people is the fastest way I’ve found to end a conversation. The enormity and longevity of my situation is relevant only to me; it doesn’t matter anywhere else. And so I sat there in a room full of people but feeling terribly alone as I wondered what that promise means to me.
So what was Jesus’ response to Andrew? Well, he accepted the meager offering (which was all the boy had to give), gave thanks, and distributed the bread and fishes to the multitude. Everyone ate and was filled, and they gathered twelve baskets of leftovers.
Wow. Enough and to spare. He began by giving thanks.
So, insufficient as they are, these are the small loaves of progress I can be grateful for:
1. A bed that is consistently made by 6:30 a.m.
2. A kitchen counter that is still free of paper.
3. A toy room that continues to stay clean.
4. An opportunity to follow a prompting from the Spirit.
5. A (late) birthday dinner tonight for my brother.
6. An opportunity to be thoughtful.
7. A humbling scripture study session. I was wrong.
And many minutes of washing dishes, preparing meals, driving children, changing diapers, giving baths, doing laundry, etc. I’m grateful I have the ability to do them.
I wouldn’t mind it at all if we woke up in the morning with all our needs met and twelve baskets of abundance waiting.
But that’s not how it works.
So you get up in the morning and offer your measley barley loaves and two small fish.
And you hope and pray that it’s enough for Him to work with. Because one thing is certain: I need His help.
I’m also falling asleep as I type.