You want to do something? You want to make something happen? There’s only one way to do it and it’s LITTLE BY LITTLE.
I need to remember that. Most of the time when I want something to change I want it right NOW. But it doesn’t work like that, no matter what our culture tells us.
In movies we can forget how long it takes to learn/grow/change/mature because it only takes the length of a song for our hero to move to the wilderness, grow a beard, climb a mountain, get super jacked, and reach deep down inside to find the inner All American strength they need to defeat the evil Russian. To us it’s only 2 minutes but if all that were to play out in real time it would be day after day of hard work for WEEKS.
Days, weeks, even years can pass in a short movie montage. It all happens so fast. Strangers fall in love, someone learns kung-fu, or the famous musician goes through rehab for their drug addiction in the length of a song.
BUT THAT’S NOT REAL LIFE! It’s just a movie. And a movie can’t be 300 hours long so they have to cut some stuff down. They’re cutting a lot of time, effort, work, and heartache that goes into making a big change.
All over the internet companies are trying to sell you your own real life movie montage. They tell you they’ve got the solution that makes your big change happen in the length of a song. Fast fixes! Quick! Lose 100 lbs in 20 minutes! Get rich by doing absolutely nothing! Be a totally different person by the time your grandma wakes up from a nap!
But nothing can be done except little by little. And that’s ok. Change takes time.
You’ll never see Facebook ads like “get over your addiction in seconds flat!” “Quick and easy steps to get over the death of a loved one.” “Forgive your father for leaving you in no time at all!”
It all happens little by little.
The Bible says that when we make Jesus our Lord and savior we are suddenly new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17). We are forgiven. We are covered with a new identity. But that doesn’t mean we’re suddenly perfect. There’s still a lot that needs to change.
This summer I’ve got 5 youth camps I’m a part of. I love camp.
At camp we can get SO PUMPED UP about our relationship with Jesus, which is awesome. I love camp. I grew up going to camp every summer and I had some really incredible experiences with God there. But camp is not a movie montage. One week at camp won’t fix all our problems back at home.
Everything happens little by little.
I used to leave camp thinking I would suddenly have the most incredible and consistent prayer life without having to do any real work. I thought everything in my life would just change on its own, and when it didn’t, I’d get so upset and give up. I’d go back to “normal life” until camp rolled around the next year.
I have terrible handwriting. It is so sloppy and bad. I’m embarrassed when someone has to read something I wrote.
I wish I could wave a magic wand and have a totally different handwriting. How great would that be? I snap my fingers and everything I write is suddenly perfect!
But that’s not how it works.
Little by little.
If I want to change my handwriting I can only do it one letter at a time.
If I try to write a word like “FART” (a word I write often), at first I can only focus on making sure the F is as good as it can be. I don’t need to worry about any other letters. F is first. Make it perfect. Then comes A, and I need to put all my effort into making it the best A possible. If I do that with every letter, my handwriting will improve.
God can really blow your mind at camp. He can get you so excited for what life can be like when you get home.
But if you want to change your life after camp you can only do it one day at a time. Make sure it’s the best day possible. Focus on those 24 hours. Get to know Jesus. Spend time with other people trying to get to know Jesus.
And do the same the next day. And the next. And the next.
Make it the best day. Forgive. Pray for people you think are annoying. Be kind.
It's ok if it doesn't all happen at once.
Little by little.