“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin,”
Zechariah 4:10 NLT
I’ve heard this verse so many times it’s sickening. I always attributed this verse to building small businesses, I don’t know why, it’s just what my mind goes and stays when I hear this verse. I’ve been going through a few small beginnings myself and I forgot how frustrating and humbling it is. For example I took on two new ventures, voice lessons and a personal trainer. I know, why did I do this to myself?! Well, I’ve always wanted to take voice lessons, to have the experience and learn proper singing techniques. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed myself to the point where the lessons began to feel like a form of self care. Today, I began working out with my trainer and let me tell you… it felt like anything BUT self care! I was lightheaded, my chest was on fire and the muscles in my neck were strained!!
Get It Together!
I literally thought in my mind: “Is this what being close to death feels like?!”, as I fought to complete a short cardio circuit. No, I didn’t finish, much to my body’s relief and to my ego’s embarrassment. In both of areas, I’ve had my share of embarrassment from experiencing failure to deliver what my teacher/coach/trainer asked of me. During my voice lessons, there were only a few times that I had difficulty following commands. As crooked notes and cracked pitches climbed out of my throat, my face expressed my apologetic nature. During my first workout, that was supposed to last an hour, only lasted about 20 minutes before my trainer exercised his mercy on me and let me end the session with 36 minutes to go.
I was so hard on myself. When I did something wrong or couldn’t complete it, I immediately go into degradation of my abilities. As I began to vent to my best friend about how much of a punk I was, I felt the blow of insults and verbal abuse I hurled through the phone. It felt as if I overheard a conversation in where someone else was bashing me. I had convinced myself if I believe my limitations, as temporary as they are, are horrible then my standard points toward excellence. Yet, if that were true, I wouldn’t be here. Simply put. Being unhealthy, listening to my cravings and not my knowledge of what my body needs to function clearly shows my standard. Why should I be upset now and not at every drive through speaker?
Small beginnings start at the moment of revelation, because at that instant we gain understanding. We have a why and for most of us, that’s what we feel we need in order to comply. In reality, it’s something we feel entitled to that won’t push us further into achievement than we already are; unless we make the choice to push into excellence beyond excuse and yes, even beyond understanding. The reality of small beginnings are that they are really small, like a thought followed by action. It’s a seed that’s put into the ground. It’s recovery, its’ something so easily missed that once you realize you did, you’ll hate the moment passed by so quietly.
The Bible reminds us here not to despise them, not to hate them or look down on those moments, but why? Why is it important not to hate these easily missed moments? Simply because they are launching pads. The ugly, the unappealing and the dismissible moments are birthing grounds for failed attempts, nagging truths and blunt narratives. The times we don’t want to discuss or post on IG, the embarrassment of the struggle of reversing habits. From my experience, as trivial and general as going through the mental fight during a workout, has taught me the need for grace for myself. Remembering to extend myself mercy and patience when fighting my current and soon-to-be old self, has allowed a sobriety to unfold and helped me to see the reality of where I am and the beauty of that.
Take This into Consideration
We owe ourselves grace and patience. So many sermonic clips and devotionals emphasize the need to be patient with others and allow grace to take the place of intolerance and frustration. What about the frustration we feels with ourselves? Well, I’ll save you some time. When you’re rerouting your mind to change something about yourself, you’re really entering into a fight… with yourself. You’re fighting for your future. You’re fighting with your current thoughts, patterns, habits and preferences. The current you is going to fight future you every step of the way for the sake of comfort. In those moments of fighting, regret and exhaustion remember to be patience with yourself. No matter how ugly the moment is, no matter how tired you are, despise not the moment of embarrassment, the moment of regret or pity. Embrace it and keep fighting until what’s new becomes normal.