Faithful In The Little Things


Last weekend, I returned home from a retreat in Arizona. Our flight landed at 8:30 p.m., and by the time we got our luggage, picked up the car from the airport parking lot, and drove back to Indiana, it was after 10:00 p.m., and I was beat. It was all I could do to wash my face, take my contacts out, and put on my jammies. I left my unpacked suitcase on the floor and crawled into bed.


The next morning, I took it easy and started the day more slowly than usual. I really needed the rest, but I also noticed something interesting. Leaving my unpacked suitcase on the floor led to leaving my unpacked toiletries on the bathroom counter. When I eventually got dressed, rather than folding and putting away my pajamas, I left them in my pile of retreat clothes "to put away later." I also left the dirty breakfast dishes in the sink. 


Those small decisions were understandable, but they were a good reminder of how one little choice affects other little decisions that can alter the trajectory of my day and even my life. I have always had the kind of mind and temperament that is quickly lured into whatever is easiest and most comfortable, even when that avoidance comes back to bite me by really adding to my stress and overwhelm. 


I can talk myself out of exercising, praying, washing dishes, planning healthy meals, staying on task, etc., with valid-sounding excuses. I did this for decades until I finally admitted that those excuses kept me stuck and frazzled. If I was going to change my life, I'd have to get serious about being faithful in the little things. 


I started to view my resistance to what is healthy and fruitful as a sneaky attack from the devil to keep me distracted, exhausted, and anxious. Gone were the days of just winging it and hoping for the best. I needed rhythms and routines that would prompt good decision-making and help liberate me from impulsiveness and procrastination.


How I start my morning determines how peaceful and productive I'll be throughout the day. From the moment I open my eyes, I'm met with fierce temptations to give way to sloth and despondency. Adopting these three habits has been an effective way to defeat those temptations and proceed with optimism and intention:


Making My Bed

Making my bed is my first daily act of self-discipline. It signals a rhythm of continuous home care that will keep clutter and disorder at bay. When my bed is made, I am far more likely to pick those dirty socks up from the floor, bring that mug on my nightstand back to the kitchen, wipe down the bathroom sink while brushing my teeth, etc. 


Showing Up for Morning Prayers

Standing in front of my icons, lighting the candles and incense, opening my prayer book, and wholeheartedly offering my time and attention to God requires much effort. My prayer corner is often where my most intense spiritual battles occur, as my will and ego are very loud and tempestuous. Showing up for morning prayers can feel like diving beneath the crashing waves of my fears and passions to encounter Christ in the tranquil depths of stillness and surrender. Making that descent before the busyness of my day overtakes me helps me remain in that stillness and insulated from the chaos of the world.  


Drinking My Smoothie

Working closely with Cynthia for the last four years, I’ve been schooled in the health benefits of starting my mornings with protein, fiber, and healthy fats. She taught me how the right smoothies can provide a ton of nutrients and set me up for sustained energy, fewer sugar cravings, and increased mental clarity. My typical morning smoothie consists of spinach, protein powder, collagen, MCT oil, chia seeds, mushroom powder, water, and ice. It signals me to continue fueling my body throughout the day with foods that energize rather than deplete me.


Recognizing the significance of my daily choices reminds me that I have far more control over my health, time, fruitfulness, and perspectives than I often realize. Being faithful in the little things can create or restore calm, hope, and order, even amid challenging circumstances.  

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