As an avid lover of elephants, I cringe every time I hear the question, “How do you eat an elephant?”. That is not an image I need in my head! But no matter how uncomfortable it makes me, I must admit that the adage is right. We can only conquer something that seems large by taking it on in small pieces. It’s a basic principle of time and task management. But if there’s such an obvious solution, why do so many of us struggle with feeling overwhelmed?
Life happens and I push things aside, allowing them to pile up. Everything from mail on my desk to dishes in my sink. During those times, I’m easily overwhelmed by what it will take to tackle it all. Sifting through a few pieces of mail may not seem like a big deal on the surface. But if I let my imagination go wild, I’ll dream up everything that might be in that growing stack on my desk; reminders of things that haven’t been done, things that could be done if I had enough time or money, and things that I should do to be the perfect wife, sister, daughter, and pet owner. All of these expectations can reduce anyone to cowering in a dark corner clutching tightly to a teddy bear (or in my case, a stuffed elephant)!
So why should we take the first step? Why tackle what could be ignored for just one more day? Well, what I’m learning, is that in completing even the smallest, simplest tasks, I can build the confidence to take on other things. When life seems overwhelming, I can remember that if God gave me the courage to attack this pile of mail, maybe I can have the courage to reply to that daunting email. Faith shows up in small steps. The more steps you take, the more your courage and faith will grow. So go ahead and take that bite . . . just please, not out of an elephant!