Eating an Elephant (part 1)

Q: How do you eat an elephant?A: One bite at a time!

Now I am not in the habit of eating elephants, but you get the picture. Sometimes we look at all that we want to do and all we see is a herd of elephants staring us in the face. And they're about to run us over too!

If you've been following along, I hope that you have a list of goals for this new year by now. (Maybe even just one?) If not, I hope you'll stop here and take the time to read yesterday's post and take the challenge of asking the Lord to show you one thing He may want you to tackle this year. After you've done that, come on back. Let's look at how we can turn those elephants into bite-sized pieces that can move us forward!

Break It Down "In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps."--Proverbs. 16:9

Have you ever thought of how what we eat gets into our system? It's actually quite interesting. We can show our bodies a hamburger (or, if you prefer something healthier, a piece of fruit or a salad) and it will not benefit it one iota. At least, not until we put it into our mouths and start chewing, breaking it down, and then swallowing.

But that's not enough either. The next step is getting into the stomach, where digestive juices break it down even further into the basic nutrients that it can recognize. Now we're talking! By the time the stomach is through this churning process, our former hamburger (or fruit or salad) is now in a form that it recognizes...and then it can be absorbed into our bloodstream through the small intestine.

Now maybe that sounds gross to you, but basically that's what we need to do with the elephants---goals, bad habits, etc.---in our lives. We need to break them down so that we can start getting them into the fabric of our lives so they start making a difference. The trick is learning how to give myself enough detail without micromanaging things so that I go batty!

For me, there are two levels of breaking it down. First, I break my goal for the year into bite sized pieces. That's like the chewing stage. For example, one of my goals is to read 12 more books this year. When you put it together, it looks like this. Looks a little intimidating doesn't it? But if I look at it as one book per month, that's not so bad.

But I also know that just having one book per month isn't enough for me. I need to break it down even farther. This stage is like the stomach, churning it into smaller pieces. Through trial and error last year, I figure that most books I have been reading are between 250-300 pages. Depending on the book, if I read about 10 pages a day, I can finish a book in about a month.

But that still isn't enough. Like the food particles processed by our stomach, it doesn't mean much until the villi in the small intestine absorb it and take it in. Likewise, I need to find a place in my day to read 10 pages a day. Being a mom, you know how challenging that is! But I have found a spot that works for me. Every afternoon, after lunch, I sneak away for some quiet time alone. In that time, I read to my heart's content.

If you're thinking, "I could never do that!" then stay tuned for another way to tackle the elephants!

Part 2 here.

Part 3 here.