I’ve often found myself making a very similar claim to that of the Disney bookworm–the provincial daughter of a Parisian suburb. Perhaps it stems from growing up in a town you could fold into a paper airplane and send halfway across the country. Perhaps it is my naturally inquisitive nature. Perhaps its the introspection or purposelessness that accompanies life in a small town. Or perhaps it is because deep down we all long for more than a simple, provincial life.
We want lives that mean something.
We need lives of legacy.
Unfortunately in the mundane of everyday life this innate longing often gets pushed aside…
So we settle for the provincial, assuming that our life at it’s best is the greatest it will ever be. Ignoring the fact that our full potential is just around the corner.
And we never leave the legacy God created for us.
So how do we pick ourselves out of the feeling of insignificance? This small town proclivities and achieve greatness?
Honestly, I stink at it, because it STARTS with WHO is in control. If I don’t want to stay in my ‘provincial life’ it all comes down to three things. I must…
- Step down
- Step back
- Step up
Yeah, I know. That’s so easy, right? Wrong. It’s easy in theory, harder in practice!
- Step down: In order for God to steer me out of my comfort zone, I have to actually hand over control to God. For a control freak like myself, this is not easy. It’s a DAILY struggle. Just when I think I’m good and God has the reigns, I see a bump, scream and grab for them again. In case you were wondering–wrestling with God over steering mechanisms is exhausting. And fruitless. Unless the right person is in control, you’ll never get ANYWHERE. At least you won’t get far, and definitely not out of the province that is so unfulfilling. Since I stole the title of this from my favorite Disney film, I’ll use an example from the film. Belle wanted more, but until she actually let go of her old life, she wasn’t able to embrace her new one. You have to step down for God to step up.
- Step back: If you thought getting out of the control seat was hard, wait till you recognize you must also step back. When you look at a Monet painting up close all you see is a blur of color. Meaningless. Ridiculous even. Then you step back. Suddenly those colors become beautiful flowers. Meaningful. To understand our purpose and legacy we have to step back and look at our lives and those who surround us from a different perspective. When we shift the way we look at things and we step back, God is able to open your eyes and mind to the beauty of the mundane. And even help you create meaning from something you believed purposeless or even dead. He’s a master artist–sometimes we just need to step back and the picture becomes clear.
- Step up: This sounds counter-intuitive. We just stepped down, why would we step up again? Here’s the thing. ‘Up’ doesn’t mean that we take control back. We’re not getting back on the pedestal. Instead, we are stepping up and recognizing the responsibility we have to follow God into our own legacy. We give Him control, we change our perspective and then we act. Action always needs to come LAST though, because if we act on our own accord we become like Sarah, taking the reigns into our hands and created bigger problems than we solved. Abraham was promised a son, so Sarah–feeling old and purposeless–gave her husband a new wife and birthed a whole nation set up in opposition to the nation God promised her. Sibling rivalry at its finest. Sarah’s heart was in the right place, but she did it backward. She tried to step up first, and that never works.
Step down, step back, and step up.
God never said life would be easy, but he did promise us lives that would be meaningful. There is more than this provincial life. But you have to step down, step back, and step up if you want to reach your full potential.