Small, but consistent

Bend an ear, God; answer me. I’m one miserable wretch! Keep me safe—haven’t I lived a good life? Help your servant—I’m depending on you! You’re my God; have mercy on me. I count on you from morning to night. Give your servant a happy life; I put myself in your hands! You’re well-known as good and forgiving, bighearted to all who ask for help. Pay attention, God, to my prayer; bend down and listen to my cry for help. Every time I’m in trouble I call on you, confident that you’ll answer. (Psalm 86:5)

How many mornings do you start out well, but when you actually stop sometime later that day and look at a recap of your day, you honestly feel like you have made a mess of just about everything you put your hands to that day? I have those days, too. The meal didn't turn out well because I took my eyes off it for a bit and it scorched the pan. The laundry was put into the dryer without realizing the Chapstick in your pocket wasn't removed before you threw the trousers into the laundry and well, you know the rest. The way to work suddenly had construction barriers up everywhere, narrowing traffic to one lane and a snail's crawl on a day when you knew you were already running a bit behind. We've all been there, haven't we? Those moments when the 'recap' shows a 'less than stellar' outcome. It isn't that 'mess' that matters as much as what we do with it in the end. We can cast it aside and hope for a better day tomorrow, or we can take the mess and use it as a 'seed' for a greater harvest tomorrow! One relies on chance - the other relies on making each step in the day count for something good.

Many times we look back at our 'failed attempts' as worthless, but turn that around a bit and begin to see the failed attempts as some form of 'seed' we can plant to reap a greater harvest. You have probably heard it said that there are three principles of sowing and reaping: 1 - We always reap what we sow. 2 - We always reap more than we sow. 3 - We always reap after we sow. Consider that last 'failed attempt' you had. You sowed some seed. You reaped a harvest more than likely a little greater than the seed you sowed. You reaped only after you sowed the seed. Now, if that 'seed' wasn't all that great, meaning that your harvest was kind of awful, then you can learn from that experiencing of sowing those kinds of seeds. You don't have to settle for bad harvests in the future when you can learn from the present harvest, do you? You can change the type of seed you are sowing, which changes the type of harvest you will reap.

God forgives our 'bad seed' moments, but he expects us to learn from them, doesn't he? One thing I have been reminded of lately is the value of taking small, consistent steps in the right direction. It doesn't matter what you are desiring to reap as a harvest - consistency in your Bible reading or prayer life; relationship growth; financial well-being - the seed you sow takes time to come to full harvest, but in time, it comes. The consistency we show toward sowing the right seeds will undoubtedly reveal a dynamic harvest in the due season. It is right there where many of us get hung up - the 'due season' takes so long and we don't believe anything is happening while we wait to realize the harvest. I learned to make lollipops one year with a dear friend. I remember waiting at the stove, constantly stirring that sugary mixture, watching and waiting for that candy thermometer to come up to just the right temperature. Too early and they would not set up right; too late and they are gritty. Stir it too little or too much and you get the same miserable results. There was a right time and a right way to the process.

As with all of life, we get out of it what we put into it. Take the small, consistent steps toward the goal you have today and you won't see immediate results, but in due time you will. As I shared yesterday, I am again on that mission to eat well, exercise daily, and get this old gal into fit shape again. Small steps in the right direction will eventually yield the right results. It won't be instant, but in the consistency of choosing even 100 calories less each day, I can realize my goal. How about you? What seeds are you sowing this year that will yield a harvest in due season? Don't grow weary in your consistency - for it is in those small steps we come to realize the harvest greater than what we ever sowed. Just sayin!

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