Growing smaller

This is the fourth day of the Love Blog Challenge
hosted by the lovely
Prompt for 2/6: Growth.

How funny that with so many ideas, prompts and topics, I keep coming back to dancing. I don’t mean the kind you do at weddings and on Girls’ Night Out. I mean dancing, as in choreographing my life – which, you will see in one of my early posts, never really works out the way I expect.

I won’t bore you – or further embarrass myself – by describing all of the ways “helping” God create my best life didn’t work out. At all.

Yes, I’ve had scores, even hundreds of top-of-the-mountain days. But suffice it to say, I’ve also experienced significant defeat. A lot of stumbles on the stage because, although I was convinced I was perfect for the role, I wasn’t the dancer I wanted to be or thought I could learn to be.

The latest of these missteps has happened on my writing journey, after I left teaching, dancing myself brazenly into a world about which I knew not a ding-dang thing.

I didn’t know about writing habits or practices and was completely clueless about the complexities of publishing. I just knew I wanted to write and I believed God was pleased with my work. I still do.

I thought there would be a trial and error period, a slow but steady increase in followers, perhaps the encouragement of a more accomplished writer or two, and then a small but mighty place in the world of words. I don’t remember for sure if I thought I’d ever be a “famous author” but I did think my love of writing and God’s pleasure when we used our gifts and talents would turn into a second career of sorts.

But that hasn’t happened, just as it hasn’t happened for at least a zillion other really good writers who have lots to say with style and panache. Just as, even though there are thousands of super-talented athletes and super-wise leaders, only a very few get to be Super Bowl champs, governor or senator.

What I do see, though, are the local high school football players working with grade school teams, giving them encouragement, support, and advice about passing, kicking, avoiding the tackle, and how to win and lose with dignity. And I see local leaders working with refugees and students, on small initiatives with skimpy budgets, making lives better and schools more inclusive.

Translating that same concept into my own plans or ambitions, however, has not been smooth.

It’s taken a while to start growing in ways that can only be described as diminishing. Not that I’m less important or that my writing is less than those published multiple times. Not that I have less to say.

Not that my writing has diminished. But it seems the goals I envision for my sphere of influence have become more narrow while growing deeper.

I do not for one little tiny second believe that I should stop making plans – and neither should you. Dreams and hope for the future are critical if we are to keep our heads above water and our world moving toward the light. We cannot give up when the going gets rough or when it seems like what has been put on our hearts is just too much.

We absolutely need to cast vision for ourselves and our children – and theirs.

But, when the dance we plan does not match the music playing, or if the sprained ankle keeps us off our feet for a while, we need to pay attention.

I need to pay attention.

I need to listen closely, follow my heart, and stay close to the loving voice of Jesus, who helps me adjust my steps and wait more patiently for my cues in the ballet of life.

So, what does this mean? Just that growing does not always mean bigger. It may mean simply better or richer or even sweeter. And if that means I have to take a step back or rethink or get a little smaller, so be it.

And, truth be told, smaller for me is proving to be better and richer and even more sweet than I imagined it would be. But I’ll grow into it, you can be sure.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash


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