Anne Lamott, wrote a witty book about the writing life called, Bird by Bird. She tells the story of how her brother had an assignment about birds due the next day, but he’d procrastinated, so he was overwhelmed. His father told him, “Just take it bird by bird, buddy, bird by bird.”
My young daughter stood in front of a heap of dishes in the sink and asked me, “How am I ever going to do all these?” I heard myself tell her, “Just take it dish by dish, baby girl. Dish by dish.”
As I walked away, I pondered how universal and cliché’ that concept truly is. It can be applied to virtually any task or goal. Rome wasn’t built in a day. The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
We just have to start. If we simply focus on the next thing, rather than the whole avalanche behind it, we progress. Nike says “Just do it.” My mother says, “Just do something.” I say, “Do the next thing.”
Jesus is the King of calm. He didn’t run down to the river Jordan all rattled and bark at John to hurry up and baptize him because he had to get to the desert and deal with the devil already.
He didn’t spend three years stressing about the cross. He moved gracefully to the wilderness. He dealt with each temptation as it came. He addressed the devil with the Word. Verse by verse.
I homeschool year by year. I plan meals night by night. I write word by word. I even gain weight bite by bite by bite by bite.
Jesus didn’t borrow troubles from tomorrow. He knew each day had enough of its own. Instead, He prayed, and obeyed. He guarded His heart. He stayed busy doing good and going about His Father’s business. Mission by mission.
So I’m gonna try and do the same. He knows what’s best after all. Day by day. Task by task. Pray and obey. I will do the next thing and trust that He is growing me from glory to glory.