The hardest part about beginning something new – an exercise routine, a relationship, going to church, etc. – is often the beginning. Really, beginning anything, even beginning something again, something we’ve begun before and stopped for some reason, is difficult. Improve a relationship, overcome addiction, overcome depression, lose weight… the list is endless and unique to the person.
Why is the beginning often so difficult?
At the beginning, the whole looms before us and seems too big to accomplish. Plus, what’s behind and our current state simply seem too much to overcome. Then there’s the idea that we’re in a comfort zone – even if it’s a bad one – and going outside of them is, well, uncomfortable.
“Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.” (Tony Robbins)
Sometimes, the pain of staying the same seems better. Plus, we often want to take huge leaps in progress, and small steps seem insignificant, especially in the beginning.
How are small beginnings the key to change?
In Zechariah 4, the small beginnings were the beginning of a new temple that wasn’t, in the people’s eyes, nearly as magnificent as the old one. Also, the new temple was built from the rubble of the old one. In other words, the new wasn’t really new; it was repurposed. These small beginnings seemed insignificant and of little impact.
Yet, Zechariah tells us that the Lord rejoices in our small beginnings.
“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.” (Zechariah 4:10)
God finds joy in our beginnings. He finds joy in our taking those first steps down the path of his will.
What are your small beginnings that give God joy?
For me, it’s progressively overcoming depression that’s plagued me for over 40 years. It’s walking away from sarcasm, frustration, and sugar until I could stand in the face of them and not succumb.
There are two major mistakes I’ve made and see others make that block experiencing the power of small beginnings. One is attempting to go it alone. The other is beginning only once. In other words, let others in on your struggle with small beginnings, and keep beginning again.
Have courage – face the pain and fear with confidence – and refuse to quit experiencing small beginnings. Remember that small steps done consistently over time add up to make a big difference!
“Take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded.” (2 Chronicles 15:7)
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)