“Do not despise the day of small things” (Zachariah 4:10).
This simple passage brought tears to my eyes today. I’m in over my head with small things. Small little humans, their small little toys (everywhere), a small dog who drives me bonkers because he fails to be completely house trained even after seven years, a small town, and – the one that kills me – what seems like small progress sometimes in furthering my business goals as a full-time photographer. The only thing that doesn’t seem small on most days is the list of things I need to get done and the bills that never stop rolling in. Oh, and the mess. The mess!
It’s the mess, actually, that keeps me from so many goals every day. I set a goal to photograph my children more, but I don’t, because the house is too messy to be photographed and dragging two littles into the studio just isn’t often very practical on a regular basis, even for a professional photographer. I set goals to update the blog more, but I don’t, because by the time I have taken care of the editing, emailing, child-rearing, and million other things, it’s nine pm and someone has to tackle the mess. It’s never-ending. I know almost every mom out there is nodding their head in agreement right now, but let’s be honest – no matter how many “Screw Pinterest, I’m a Real Mom!” articles we read, we still put that pressure on ourselves.
And then I see the blogs of my photographer friends and other professionals I admire, and I start to feel like a failure. My life is small in comparison. My blog is very, very small…and the free time I have to expand my efforts is smaller still. I am deep in the days of small things, and all too often, it frustrates me.
So today I saw this one small verse and looked it up. I wanted to see the context, to know the story behind the small things. Trust me, it’s a good one – regardless of what faith or creed you hold to, it has something for you I think.
It’s about a project and a dream that got stalled. Zerubbabel (there’s a fun name that probably won’t be making any top ten baby name lists anytime soon) was tasked with rebuilding the temple after it was destroyed. He started strong but then the project got stalled. Construction stopped with barely a foundation to build on. Zerubbabel felt like a total failure. He had the dream and the passion, but nothing to show for it. He probably felt a lot like you or me when something we really want just doesn’t work out. He probably felt like crap.
Things weren’t over, though. A prophet came to Zerubbabel to tell him the wait happened for a reason: “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord Almighty” (Zach. 4:6). Zerubbabel was promised that his hands would be the ones to complete the dream project he started, but in the meantime, he shouldn’t despise the day of small things, the time of small beginnings. It was out of that small beginning that great things would (eventually) happen.
Maybe, like me, you’re in a season of small things, a season of small beginnings. Maybe you feel frustrated that your dreams and goals aren’t happening the way you wanted them to despite your best efforts, or maybe they’re just happening so slowly you wonder if they will ever happen at all. I’m writing this to you. Be patient. Don’t wish away your now waiting on the future. The season you’re in is temporary: cherish what you can and look for the good. Don’t despise your day of small things.
I grabbed my camera today and did something different. I didn’t stage anything or look for perfect light. I didn’t dress my kids up or search Pinterest for inspiration. I didn’t even change Aria out of her pulled-from-the-dryer wrinkly t-shirt or even make sure every last trace of the green smoothie she had for breakfast was wiped clean off her little, beautiful face. That’s my real right now. Wrinkly clothes and messy kids (well, one of them was sleeping so it’s just Aria) in a cluttered playroom. It’s my day of (precious) small things – and I documented it. I let my daughter just be a toddler and we played and she talked to me about her favorite My Little Pony toys and we laughed. Instead of feelings of frustration, I started feeling blessed. I’m going to do my best to embrace my days of small things while they last, because one day they will be gone.
If you would like your small things documented contact me for unscripted at-home lifestyle sessions. Forget the staged gloss of Pinterest and embrace your real. Document the little moments – complete with the messy fingers and scattered toys. Cherish your days of small things with me, won’t you?