Big Messes and Small Steps

Carol DunfeeCurrent Events, Faith, WomanhoodLeave a Comment

My son’s room looks like an explosion in a toy store. I don’t want to even look at it. That special guest in our home (the one called “Not Me”) apparently dumped all the toys and closet contents on to the floor. If the mess overwhelms me as an adult, I can’t imagine how his little brain is affected by it! He won’t even play in there. He brings his toys to the family room…and so the mess spreads.

This afternoon, I will ask him to clean his room. And if he repeats his normal habit, he will go upstairs, look at the mess, and come back to me within a few minutes. He will ask, “Mommy, what do I pick up first?” After about ten minutes, he will ask me what the next step is. His room will look better by dinner time. It won’t be perfect, but it will be inhabitable. (No judging, please!!)

There is so much to learn from his approach to cleaning his room.

When I look at the world around me, I feel completely overwhelmed by the giant mess.

People are hurting, children are hungry, women are being abused, men are losing their jobs, and families are breaking apart. The avalanche of needs overwhelms me with an emotional paralysis. I am frozen in indecision. I don’t know where to start, so I do nothing.

But then I remember my sweet little boy. He feels the same way with his messy room. There is so much to pick up that he doesn’t know where to start. So he comes to me for guidance. Suddenly I remember that I have a Heavenly Father who knows where I should start. He knows that I can’t address all the problems myself. So I ask Him,

“God, where do you want me to start?”

He gives me a small, insignificant step. It seems too small to matter, but I take it anyways. It’s such a tiny beginning, that it doesn’t even seem to make a dent in the mess. But I keep at it.

Before I know it, others begin to recognize the mess. They also ask their Father where to start. He gently directs them. They obey. We all obey, one step at a time, until the mess doesn’t look as messy.

What started as a series of tiny steps has become a beacon of hope. Just as my son’s room will again be clean and organized, so the real-life messes will also be addressed by the love of Jesus. We may not see it in our lifetimes, but Jesus will one day reconcile all things to Himself.

“For in [Jesus] all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven,making peace by the blood of his cross.” –Colossians 1:19-20 ESV

I cannot do it all, but I can be a small part of what God is doing.

Together, we can obey God as He shows us one step at a time. A couple brave souls will sound the battle cry. Then some will rescue orphans. Others will feed hope to the homeless. A few will teach the Truth that frees. Still others will pray over the broken. Each of us will do our small steps of obedience.
And Jesus will do the rest.
(Remember my son’s messy room? He obeyed each small step so well that I felt compelled to help. As he continued his baby-steps, I worked behind the scenes, picking up this and organizing that. Suddenly it struck me. This is how Jesus handles our feeble obedience. The more we obey in the small things, the more He does the big things.)

Would you like to add your small steps to ours?

About Carol Dunfee

Carol is a wife, mom, piano teacher, and blogger for Alaska Christian Women’s Ministry. Having grown up in church, life made her dissatisfied with empty religious traditions and trite answers. She discovered that Jesus alone is the way to real life and true contentment. Ever stumbling and learning herself, she invites her readers to experience God’s love and forgiveness like never before. Read more at

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