Life in the “Small Days”: When You’re Longing for Greater Things
Have you ever had to go gift shopping for “the one who has everything”? Or maybe you’ve had to buy a present for someone you really don’t know that well? It’s hard, isn’t it?
I like to give unique and thoughtful gifts, and I’m always on the lookout for creative gift ideas I can use for future events. So when I heard a local radio DJ talking about gift suggestions recently, my ears perked up.
When the words “blue box” and “Tiffany’s” came out of her mouth, I realized this report would offer no actual, practical value to this budget shopper. But I was intrigued as the DJ explained Tiffany’s “everyday objects” collection. And later that day, I popped onto the Tiffany’s site, curious to see the collection for myself.
I have to say, they have some fabulous options for everyone. Want some kitchen items for your mother-in-law’s birthday? They have an ice cream scoop for $375 or a pizza cutter for a more reasonable $165. Your dad might appreciate a new razor ($450) or a golf putter ($2350) next Christmas. (Better start saving now.)
And you can even shop for the kids: Just $300 for a yo-yo or $650 for some ping-pong paddles. (Maybe you can find an appropriate ping-pong table wherever they buy furnishings for the Queen.)
Last but not least, you’ll want something special for grandma on Mother’s Day: I think a $9,000 ball of silver yarn should do nicely.
Maybe some of you readers can actually afford Tiffany’s. But I just roll my eyes at this stuff and chuckle, it’s so far out of reach.
Days of Small Stuff
Here’s my confession, though: Sometimes I long for those greater things. Not Tiffany’s boxes. (Although I wouldn’t return a gift from them: Just sayin’.) But I long for greater purpose in my everyday life.
I don’t have a big career, or a ministry reaching thousands, or a set of significant initials behind my name. I just pack lunches, help with homework, and occasionally string some words together on the page.
So there’s a restlessness in my spirit. Struggling like a caterpillar to be transformed and set free from my cocoon. Everything is so comfortable and familiar and utterly normal in my life.
Anyone else feeling this?
I’ve chatted with many who so they do. We feel like we were created for more. Yet we don’t seem to have grown any wings just yet. Our heart stares ahead to each day, wondering. Questioning why God would stir one to fly, yet keep the secrets of flight a mystery.
As I was reading recently, a phrase reached out to me from the page. Words that were new, yet held the familiarity of a well-worn T-shirt. “The days of small things.” A brief phrase in Zechariah 4:10, tucked into a devotional about the Holy Spirit.
“The days of small things.”
Perhaps there is no more apt description for these days I find myself in. These days of laundry and errands and homework and classroom parties. It all seems so small—so insignificant in a world that values big numbers and high-priced blue boxes from a jewelry store. My life is just one small thing after another.
Perhaps you find yourself there, too?
“Made For More”?
It’s no surprise, really, that I feel this way. From the time I was a little girl, I was told that “God has big plans for you.” As my identity formed through the crucible of high school and college, I heard frequent encouragement to pursue “great things” for the Kingdom. It’s a message I’ve continued to hear again and again amidst the slew of Bible study material, sermons, and devotionals I’ve devoured through my adulthood.
But now I’m wondering: Did God really make us all for this “great” stuff, all the time?
It struck me, reading that Spirit-inspired phrase in Zechariah, that “the days of small things”—they were days from the Lord. Yes, the Bible has blockbuster stories of fiery furnaces and shepherds who slayed giants. But in those five little words, I was reminded that God gives small days too.
I suspect that “the day of small things” rings more true in most souls than the grand visions we often hear from speakers and books. God doesn’t call us all to “greatness,” at least not the way our world defines it. Even when He does grant accolades from the world, they are fleeting, dissolving into a mist and leaving pressure to accomplish even greater things.
What if the greatest thing is simply faithfulness? Pressing on and clutching hope, even in the small days. Even in the humble spaces where culture will grant no awards. Those mundane tasks where maybe even the church rarely offers affirmation or encouragement.
What if these balls of yarn that make up our everyday, tangled lives might actually be woven through with precious, golden thread?
Have We Failed God?
“The days of small things” come to us all, in one way or another And for many of us, these days string into a season. In this quiet season, questions arise : Do our “small things” mark a failure on our part? Are we “less” than other Christ-followers because our lives are not marked by remarkable experiences and accomplishments?
Did we take a detour from God’s “great plan,” that we ended up in this “small” existence?
These questions have haunted my days and stolen my sleep many a night. Yet Zechariah writes “Who dares despise the day of small things?”
I have despised them, I confess. Resented my “insignificant” work. Longed for more affirmation. Struggled and wondered and waited for the big plans I was told God had for me. Only now, I’m wondering if I’ve despised the wrong things, and asked all the wrong questions.
What if the “days of small things” aren’t a deviation from God’s plan—but the key part of it? What if these everyday tasks are not mere distraction from my larger purpose—but they encompass God’s purposes in themselves?
What if the “great” things I’m hoping for—purpose, meaning, a part in God’s grand story—are things I already hold in my simple, work-worn hands?
Think about those everyday objects designed by Tiffany’s. In a brilliant marketing strategy, they realized they could take something mundane and add immense value to it—by coating with silver or gold.
Starting today, I want to do that with my own life. I want to stop despising the small things and instead, coat them with love and praise for the Greatest One of all.
If we’re willing, I believe all of us can bring meaning into all the mundane that fills up our everyday lives:
- We can pray for our kids or grandkids while we wash the dishes.
- We can listen to worship music and praise Jesus while we sort the dirty laundry.
- We can show financial stewardship and restraint while running those countless errands.
- We can take the time to pause from our to-do list and genuinely listen to a friend or neighbor who needs some encouragement.
There are countless ways to make the small things beautiful and meaningful and sweet. And when I focus my heart on how “small things” can serve others instead of striving for my own greatness, I seem to feel greater instead of less.
Has God placed you in the days of small things? That’s not a failure, or a shortcoming, or a mistake, dear friends. The world may pass right by your simple life. But God looks more closely—and sees a faithful heart spinning everyday threads into gold.
Do you ever struggle with these feelings of “wanting more?” How do you tackle that restlessness within? I’d love to hear from you!
I am able to relay to your story. I’m at the end of raising a family and full time work. Now I work a few days a week and spend the evenings with my husband. There are times I wonder what it would have been like to have written a book or spoke to thousands of people about the ups and downs of life. Not that it can’t still happen. I’m learning that where I am now, the slowness and quiet are helping me to heal old wound and connecting with Jesus
So glad you like the post Barb! I think these “small days” are important: They remind us what it means to be loved for who we are, instead of what we do–and that’s an important gift to carry with us into everything–big and small!
God can do great things with even the littlest of tasks…. 🙂
This is so true! There are always those “small days” that we want to get rid of forgetting that it is in those days that God prepares us for bigger and tougher days. Faithfulness in the “small days” are actually sometimes for challenging that the tougher days. Thank you for this!
So glad you felt blessed. . . I’m realizing more and more that I’ll never be ready for anything “big” if I can’t trust that God is loving me and giving me purpose in the “small.” Thanks for sharing!
This is absolutely the place most of us find ourselves. Oswald Chambers referred to it as the “drudgery of life”. But he also pointed out that it is in that drudgery that we truly manifest the spirit of Christ. It is easy to be faithful when we are on the high ground, but the day in day out of trudging through the valley is the true test of our commitment and relationship with Christ. You are spot on, girlfriend! You have a beautiful writing voice! Thank you for sharing. – Amy
Thanks for such a sweet response Amy! I’m so thankful to serve a God who doesn’t hold me up to the crazy celebrity standards of our world. It shows what a great and beautiful heart He has, that he can see value and dignity in our “drudgery.”
[…] boring, and simple work that fills up your everyday life. (If your heart tends to doubt that truth, check this out.) God will meet us right in our “small stuff,” if we invite him […]
“And when I focus my heart on how “small things” can serve others instead of striving for my own greatness, I seem to feel greater instead of less.” – This is such an important perspective switch to help us through all phases of our life. Small days, work days, great days, and even successful days – if the focus is not on serving others and glorifying God in the process, it will always lead to discontentment.
While I am not a mom yet, I can relate to the feelings as though we were created for something far more wonderful than our mundane life. I try to remind myself to find the beauty in each and every day; although lately, I have been slack. Thank you for the sweet encouragement and wonderful post!
Maybe we feel this because we ARE made for more than mundane: We were made to walk with God, whether it’s through the big or the small.
I’ve struggled and I put my faith in God has a purpose for me even if I can’t tell. I have to believe this!
God definitely shows up in all the details of our lives. I believe this is why He calls us to be still and know, so we don’t go wildly searching for him and miss him being with us all the time.