"Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life - well, valuable, but small - and sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven't been brave? So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn't it be the other way around? I don't really want an answer. I just want to send this cosmic question out into the void. So good night, dear void."
That is a a quote from one of my most favorite writers, Nora Ephron. It's a line from You've Got Mail. I love that quote. I identify with that quote.
I grew up wanting to live this enormous existence. I wanted my furniture to one day be in a museum. I remember having that thought when I was about ten years old. Instead, I lead a small life. Valuable but small. I have made no global impact. I haven't revolutionized the way people live. I haven't opened a continent for the gospel.
My life is small. I live in a tiny little town in the countryside of Alabama. My children walk to the park when I'm working. Our only mall is a small antique store. Little league football is the major sport in town. I attend a church with right at fifty attendees. I plant flowers in my yard and visit my in-laws weekly. I use a crock-pot with religious fervor. I write stories that hardly anyone reads. My life is small.
Valuable, but small. I may not impact many people but I do have an impact. What I do is of worth. I teach my children. I serve my small community. I worship God and speak the gospel. I attempt to truly love people for God's sake. I make myself available to his kingdom work. Valuable.
In times past, I thought my life was insignificant. That's just not so. Small is not the same as insignificant. My life has meaning and it's meaning surpasses anything I could have dreamt up on my own. As a child, I wanted a life that would bring me glory. Now I see the vanity and shallowness in that. How much better a life that brings glory to an eternal Creator Sustainer God?
The last part of the Nora Ephron quote is not true of my life like the first part is. I almost didn't include it in this post but I think it's worth noting.
Bravery is doing something even though it may or may not turn out the way you hope it will. I think it takes bravery and enormous faith to live your small life and live it well. Maybe things won't turn out like you want them to. Maybe no one will ever notice the sacrifices you've made, the sleepless nights, the hobbies put on hold, the grace extended over and over and over again. Maybe you will never see the impact of your small life. Maybe your life only ever touches a handful of people.
But isn't that enough? Can't God take that contact, small though it may be, and use it for eternity? Sometimes being brave is putting your Self to death and walking the humble path laid before you.
There are those painfully beautiful moments of Shalom. Moments when I catch a glimpse of the working out of a much bigger plan. When I realize that my smallness is part of a vast hugeness that brings everything to completion and perfection. Then peace comes flooding in and guards my heart against the feelings of insignificance and doubt.
I lead a small life- well, valuable, but small - ... and I live it with all the heart and energy and deliberation that I can. No life lived in Christ is truly small.