2014 got off to a less than stellar start for our family. We got the flu. We had big plans for diving in head first to our New Year’s Resolutions for our church, my blog, our home and our family. We had BIG PLANS. Then it all came to a standstill as we were fighting off the plague that invaded our home.
Sickness and the resulting “down time” is not something we’ve faced much of (praise God), so it was kind of a shock to our “on the go” schedule. What does one do or accomplish for the world when they are too weary to get anything done? Our energy went to bringing each other Tylenol and juice. Scrambling eggs. Tucking in blankets. Fetching warm socks. Taking naps. And really, that’s all that mattered right then. Being faithful in the little things we are called to do is a big deal to God and the people who we serve.
But in this world everyone seems to focus on the BIG THINGS. We can’t help but notice the BIG THINGS because they are the things people talk about. The big things confuse us or even discourage us as to what matters. When you aren’t able to do what you might consider BIG THINGS, you start to notice that your Facebook feed is filled with everyone promoting everyone else’s BIG things. It’s a BIG THING LOVE FEST.
“Look at me! Look at her! Look at this! Look what I did! Look what the cool girls are doing, we are all here hanging out doing BIG things. We are kind of a big deal.”
And it can feel like they add in one more line: “That can only mean one thing. You aren’t a big deal. SorryNOTSorry.”
When you are a big deal, it’s sweet to be in the big deal line up. You probably don’t mean to knock everyone else down in the process. You can feel affirmed and worthy and encouraged by being a BIG DEAL. You deserve to be noticed and appreciated, don’t get me wrong — you are awesome. But when you are at home in bed fighting the plague a.k.a. the flu (or worse), or one of the many who are quietly just living the life God called you to outside of the big deal line up, it’s easy to grow weary of those big deal statuses because evidently you are glaringly not doing anything worthy of broadcasting.
You aren’t a big deal.
Or are you?
Are the moms who create Pinterest-worthy themed birthday parties better moms than those of us still baking old fashioned boxed mix cupcakes to serve to giggly eight year olds around the kitchen table? I’m pretty sure either way, you are an awesome mom. Is having a big platform to sell books you’ve written to change the world a bigger deal than being one of the few servants who will teach kids from the Bible at Sunday School each week? Both of you are pretty big deals! Is providing home cooked meals for your kids and warm cozy homes for your family less glamorous than being a blogger who writes about it? Are teachers who speak in front of thousands used more by God than the faithful leaders who sacrifice every Sunday to make an impact on the small community churches? Is it more virtuous to travel the world to serve on a yearly publicized mission than to quietly serve soup to your sick family or those in need in our own community? Is opening our door to a magazine more impressive than opening our door to our neighbors?
BIG THINGS are celebrated. BIG personalities are affirmed. Little things accomplished by quietly faithful people who love others can so easily be unnoticed, except by the people who are touched by them every day. Big things and the people who do them are great, no doubt about it. God uses them. But it’s the not-so-glamorous daily sacrifices that many Godly people make that change the world one heart and soul at a time.
I know it is easy as a mom to get discouraged in the midst of the thousand little unnoticed things we do over and over again. We may WISH we could put ourselves together enough to take a knock-out thumbs-up selfie of our stylish hair or outfits on Wednesdays. We want to be CUTE MOMS, darn it! But the honest truth is we are just trying to get our kids dressed and ready for school. Our big goal might be to get through a day without getting food on us while we are preparing another meal for many little crying people – several.times.a.day, every waking day of their childhood. Our big contribution to the fashion-obsessed world is we throw on a coat over our jammies to drive for the hundredth time in the early morning school carpool. As much as we want to be noticed for something, no one needs to see an Instagram of that.
We might juggle a job so our family can survive or stay home so we can juggle demands from there — either way, we are doing every little thing we can to love our families. We read our kids stories and bring them popsicles when they are sick and laugh at jokes we don’t understand. We attempt to teach our kids about God and life and love while we clean up toys, wipe tears, noses and rumps, and look at bugs and books and load the dishwasher again and again. We somehow fumble our way through the early years only to discover we will continue to lay awake at night waiting, shedding countless tears and sending up thousands of desperate prayers that our teens will turn out OK in spite of our fears and our own weakness and failures as a parent.
We do little things for our family every day. Thousands of little things that add up to a childhood that flies by in a heartbeat but seems to go on forever until it’s over and you drop them off at college and cry all the way home. On that drive home you really get that it was all a big deal. You did a million little things that maybe only God himself noticed but you did them because YOU LOVE THOSE KIDS.
That life full of little things you did with love is a pretty big deal. Let’s not forget it.