I have felt like my life has gone no where recently. My spiritual life seems the same. My arm is showing no instantaneous improvements. I was starting to struggle with these ideas when God gave me a huge reminder.
In the United States 100 pennies are equal to $1. In countries where we still use the evil English system, there are 5,280 feet in a mile. At the same time, it is a lot easier to save one penny than to make a dollar. And everyone knows it is easier to take a 1 foot-long step than a mile-long step.
Likewise, it is easier to change one little step at a time, rather than take one giant step. As much as I admire those who stop habits “cold turkey,” studies have shown it is easier to alter habits a little at a time, why is it I expect my life to be any different?
Looking at the little steps, I see big difference in my hand. A month or two ago, I could hardly straighten my fingers, now I can wiggle them around in a fairly normal fashion. I struggled to make flash cards two weeks ago because my hand was too weak to hold them down while writing on them, but now I can jot on them without much thought. When I started physical therapy, I refused to touch a bin full of little pieces of plastic (nicknamed the “glass shards” because of how they feel to me), today I pulled out five little red tokens from the bottom after sifting through and finding them.
In America, we tend to look toward a “miracle cure” a special pill, a shot, or a procedure that will immediately fix everything. CRPS doesn’t have that, in fact there is no “perfection”, and it has taken me a long time to realize that. I was looking for a quick fix to instantly restore my health, when I should have been looking to a long, slow road for improvement.
God helped use this realization about the physical condition of the my hand to help me understand something big about my relationship with Him. Growing up in church, going to church camp and missions trips, I came to have a false expectation of my relationship with Him. I wasn’t satisfied with a penny, when I could gain a dollar at church camp, I wasn’t ready to settle for a foot when I could have a mile on a mission’s trip. What I didn’t realize was that it is the times between that really count. It is the little things I do everyday, like reading the Scriptures, praying, and spending time basking in the glory of God that I am growing. Looking back, I can see I’ve grown more over the past six months than I did at any church camp or missions trip, but it was one small step at a time.
Am I cured? Am I perfect? No, but I’m taking little steps toward improvement. And that is all that I ask, that I continue to head toward the goal, a little step closer each day. I need to continue without getting frustrated because I’m not growing enough and be content to grow a little step each day. Eventually, they will add up and I’ll look back and realize I’ve taken a big step!