Small Beginnings

I am an extremely self-disciplined person. There, I said it.

You see, once I put my mind to something, it becomes all-consuming, and I say this fully aware of the complications of this type of mentality. When I wanted to lose weight before my wedding, I was at the gym, everyday, and consciously aware of my diet. When I wanted to get straight A’s in grad school, I put in the work, staying focused towards my goal. If I want to save money to purchase something, I become the thriftiest person you’ll meet.

In fact, when I took the Taylor Johnson Temperament Analysis, I scored a 97% in self-discipline. And rest assured, I’m not sharing this information to brag, but to hopefully give you somewhat of a background as to the challenges I live with as being a disciplined person. Even ask my husband. He’s operates at a much more leisurely pace, but when I’m determined to do something (like finish our home renovations before Christmas), I cannot be convinced otherwise. I’m up late, helping to paint or ordering flooring or whatever needs done in order to reach this goal. And to be honest, most of the time that I’m determined to do something, I reach that goal. But when I don’t, you can bet that disappointment hits hard, especially when I’ve poured so much of myself into whatever goal I’m striving towards.

When Dillon and I became parents, we allowed ourselves to dream a bit differently and intentionally about our lives and the type of rhythm we’d like for our family. It’s been amazing, thinking outside the box and exploring new possibilities together, but when you combine that with a highly motivated and self-disciplined person, you can also expect some challenges.

It’s hard for me to not reach my goals in the timeframe I’ve set for myself. It’s hard for me to remain content throughout the process and to trust God’s timing. It’s hard for me to embrace small beginnings….because in my head I’m constantly chanting “forward progress baby!” Disappointment and failure hits me hard.

In this season of so many goals and ambitions and projects, the Lord has pressed this verse heavily on my heart.

“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.”

- Zechariah 4:10

I do not like these small beginnings (thinking this should be a parody to “Green Eggs & Ham”). I want overnight success. I want God to surpass my expectations by allowing us to skip the small beginnings. I want to dream big and have God show up even bigger. Small beginnings are challenging, especially in a culture that says “If you hustle hard enough, you can achieve anything”. But each time I’m caught in the disappointment of unmet expectations, I’m reminded not to despise these small beginnings. If my small beginnings can cause the Lord to rejoice, then I need to embrace them, and maybe even celebrate them.

Maybe you too are caught in a season of oh so many small beginnings and like me, struggle to find joy in the midst of the waiting. I want to encourage you that you are not alone, and that I get it sister (or brother). But know that in the midst of your small beginnings, even in the midst of disappointment, the Lord is rejoicing over your life and blessing you, because this my friend, is only the beginning.

Ashley Sider