Small Beginnings

I recently heard Bob Goff quote Zechariah 4:10a on his Dream Big Podcast and it has been on my mind for weeks:

“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin,”

Zechariah 4:10a NLT

This verse ties in beautifully with his Dream Big theme, but the more I reflect upon this verse, the more applicable it is to not just our big dreams, but our everyday lives.  

How often are we discouraged or dissuaded from starting something good because we don’t feel like we have enough?  Reading the Bible.  Praying.  Going to church.  Losing weight.  Working out.  Eating healthier.  Writing.  Pursuing a dream. 

We quit before we begin because we feel like we don’t have enough.  Enough time.  Enough money.  Enough people.  Enough likes.  Enough talent.  Enough discipline.  You name it.  Our lack of enough leaves us feeling like what we do have to offer is just too small.  

It is so easy to despise and discount small beginnings.  Yet almost everything begins small.  Life.  Plants.  Corporations.  Authors.  Speakers.  Organizations.  Athletes.  

Nothing begins fully grown, developed, and centerstage.  Humans start as a tiny embryo.  Plants begin as seeds.  Corporations begin as a dream or a startup.  Authors, athletes, and public figures find their start obscurely honing their craft outside the public eye in their bedroom, their office, or their backyard.  

Apple began in the garage of Steve Jobs’ parents’ home.  Lebron James may have been recruited straight out of high school to the NBA, but his basketball career began 9 years earlier when he was first introduced to the game.  Rachel Hollis was once asked about being an overnight success and her response was, she had been building her company for 14 years.  14 Years! What felt to outsiders like an overnight success, was really just her emergence into the limelight, not the beginning of her efforts.  These are just a few examples of small beginnings, and I am sure we can all think of many more. 

We all have dreams and goals.  We all have things we long to attain, but for whatever reason we have not.  So, here’s the question –

Who or what is standing in the way of us accomplishing our dreams and goals? 

Could it be that it is us? 

Are we the ones standing in our own way? 

Are we lacking the courage to take the first step because it seems too small?  

Do we skip reading the Bible because we don’t have time to do an in-depth Bible study or a devotional?  If we only have 5 minutes, do we think, why bother?  

Do we skip praying because all we can squeeze in is a quick Hail Mary and we feel like we need more time to do it properly?  

Do we skip working out because we don’t have the time? 

Do we give up on eating healthy or dieting because it is such a painfully slow process, and our efforts produce such small results?

When it comes to our dreams and goals, we all start at the same place – the beginning.  Success is rarely overnight.  Just like the famous Chinese Proverb:

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

So many endeavors are accomplished one small step at a time.  And we keep taking one small step after another.  Similarly, I have heard the question posed – How do you eat an elephant?  And the answer famously is:

“…a bite at a time.”

Desmond Tutu

There are almost no overnight successes, if we want to achieve something we must put in the time, effort, and work to accomplish it.  Life is full of seasons.  And let’s be real and honest, some of these seasons are more restricting and demanding – raising small kids, working, walking through an illness, just to name a few. That’s ok. Restricting and demanding seasons come and go, but we can still decide to pursue our dreams and goals, regardless of how small our offerings or the outcome.  

What if we decide to make the most of what we have and we set out to do the good things we long to accomplish with the time, efforts, and resources we have during this season? 

What if we sit down and read one Bible verse every day, because that is what our current season of life can afford?  

What if we say a quick prayer instead of silence?  

What if we eat one more serving of fruits or vegetables?

What if we take a quick walk around the block to get moving?

What if we take that step toward our dream that seems scary, big, and unattainable?  

What if?

We may begin small, but our small efforts will eventually snowball into something far greater than we can imagine.  Let’s stay the course, one small step at a time prioritizing and pursuing the good things we want more of in our lives.  We can chase our goals and dreams.  Let’s give ourselves the freedom and confidence to embrace, rather than despise, small beginnings.