Have you heard the old joke, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”
Strangely, this has become a powerful spiritual insight to me over the last year or so. I changed jobs and in the change, took on going back to school for another degree. My nursing degree got me my teaching job, but now I need an education degree to keep it. Last summer I took my first course, I’m required to take at least one per year and have a limited amount of years to complete the whole thing. I submitted my transcript at our school board office and got a call a few hours later. I had taken the wrong class. I had misunderstood the requirements of my contract and after the money and time to complete the course, it didn’t count. Not only did it not count, it meant my job had to be posted before I could return to work. That was a stressful few weeks! Finally, I was informed that no one else had applied for my position and I was eligible for another year’s extension.
I just completed another class, and yes, it’s the right one this time!
The next class starts in nine days. And the next one after that in January.
I’ll be a few years past fifty when this degree is done. And believe me, I wish it was done now. I’ve had people ask me if I regretted becoming a nurse first, if I’d made a mistake by not becoming a teacher earlier in my life. I would’ve said yes and yes on some days. But not these days. Now I say no. No, I do not regret the honor and privilege of becoming a nurse. And I do not regret that I didn’t become a teacher sooner.
Because this is the life before me. And that was the life behind me. And God has yet to lose track of where I am in all of it. I don’t have a problem acknowledging that I’ve misunderstood and mismanaged the best way to do things. I just don’t worry anymore about the accusing voice of “Why didn’t you…..?” It’s not only an irritating voice but it’s a useless way to spend my time.
Instead, I’ve come to fully embrace this moment. And God’s will, in this moment, is for me to be a student again. He has no other plan for these days. Do you know the powerful idea of that? God has NO OTHER PLANS for me right now. This is exactly what I’m supposed to be doing. Is that because I missed the train? Is it because I got the wrong education? No. Or maybe yes. It doesn’t matter because He’s more than able to continually carve a new path for us. He is in this moment in time and I’m utterly bored with the idea of where I might have been if only I’d done something different, better, smarter or braver. He gives us life in manageable increments, the joy and contentment of which are destroyed if we sit around thinking about where we might have been under different circumstances.
His plan for me today is the only thing that truly matters. From His plan for me to awaken all the way to His plan for me to fall asleep; it’s fine and right. Just a moment at a time, that’s all we need to manage of life. Yes, there are moments when I’m wandering off in the wrong direction, but God will always make a way for those seeking Him, to find their way to the life He intends. And that life is always good.
One moment at a time, that’s all you need to figure out. Don’t give yourself a headache (and a heart ache) trying to see the end.
Pick up your fork and start eating that elephant, one bite at a time.
And enjoy every moment.
Update: I recently had the pleasure of connecting with the amazing artist who created this beautiful image. Please visit her site to see more of her work! Melissa Washburn, thank you!