Just Start

Part 1 of a Work in Progress (WIP)

The White Rabbit put on his spectacles. “Where shall I begin, please your Majesty?” he asked. “Begin at the beginning,” the King said gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.”

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll

My to-do list has lists at the moment. Sitting on my desk are ideas for four non-fiction pieces, an idea for a short work of fiction to use as a giveaway, and my blog post idea turned into a blog post series idea. Not to mention, today I began work on a website for my writing which has a to-do list of its ow,n along with sub-lists of lists. My head is spinning like the little blue circle on my computer that show up when I’ve asked it to compute more than it can compute. What’s a writer to do?

Just start!

That was the command Anne Lamott gave to her writing students in the book Bird by Bird. They wanted to know how to be published authors, and she said you have to start writing first. The thought of writing a novel, the thought of having my own website, the thought of spiritual growth and revival all sound great in theory. It is the working it out that slows us down. My first question is where do I start?

Just start!

The king in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland had it right when he said start at the beginning. You have to start where you are. No matter what path lies in front of you, start from where you are and take a step forward. One of the things I learned about anxiety is that action is one of the greatest weapons against it. If you sit and think about something, you will begin to imagine all the worst case scenarios and begin a negative spiral downward until you are frozen in place. However, if you just take action, you are literally and figuratively one step ahead. It frees you to keep moving.

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:8

If you are moving, then you are making progress, which fuels you to keep moving. Our spiritual walk is just that, a daily walk. We have to get out of bed every morning and decide to walk. We have to start from where we are: sinners saved by grace. Then, we move forward a step at a time through whatever the day holds, whatever life’s journey holds. But, we don’t walk alone.

When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.

Isaiah 43:2

We have a guide and a companion who goes alongside us. So, there is no need to fear what might lie ahead. Our job is to take it one step at a time. With Christ as our Shepherd and Leader, we can’t get lost, although we might go down a rabbit hole or two. Just like Alice we get to the same place at the journey’s end, home sweet home. In the meantime… what is it you need to do?

Just start! Take it one thing at a time and enjoy the moment. It’s all a work in progress, including me.

Coming next week: Part 2 of Work in Progress… Stuck in the Middle

A Little Less, A Little More

“A little more kindness, a little less speed, a little more giving, a little less greed, a little more smile, a little less frown, a little less kicking, a man while he’s down, a little more “we”, a little less “i”, a little more laugh, a little less cry, a little more flowers, on the pathway of life, and fewer on graves, at the end of the strife.”

Mark Twain

As I was driving into work, I noted that the misfiring/coughing sound my car had been making was a little less annoying. It wasn’t gone, but it was a little better. When I poured the golden elixir into my empty gas tank and filled up with fresh gas, I had hoped for an instant cure. No such luck. So, it was day five and over half a tank later, and it was still hesitating, but a little less every day.

I feel the same way about the yoga exercises I have been doing. It’s a 30-day back strengthening set of videos that are 6-16 minutes long, depending on the day. I am on day 26 today. All week my legs have been complaining because there were a lot of squats in the last few videos. The same day I noticed the car was a little better, I noticed my legs were a little less tight and sore.

But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.

1 Peter 5:10

There is a song we used to sing in church, especially the children, titled God’s Still Working on Me. However, it is not just for children. God is still working on all of us, and as much as we would like it to be an instant cure, it is not. Our salvation is instant the moment that we accept Christ as Lord, but our salvation is also being worked out in us as we go day to day.

12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:12-14

It’s a process that gets a little better every day. Like the apostle Paul and Mark Twain, I hope to do a little better every day as I aim toward a higher goal. Many days I want to roll over in bed and go back to sleep, but as Proverbs warns us:

10 Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: 11 So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.

Proverbs 6:10-11

Not to mention those muscles won’t get any better if I don’t work out the soreness. So, on my day off, I am up and writing this post before my coffee has finished brewing. It’s a testament to God’s grace that He made this one flow quickly this morning when He knows I have to work on my day off. Maybe I will be a little less sore today and my car a little less cranky, and maybe we will all be a little more Christ like today.