Question: How do you eat an elephant?
Answer: One bite at a time!
For reasons that I will tell you in another blog at another time, it has become drastically necessary that I clean our basement. We have a large basement, it is the full size of our house. Although our house is small, the large cinder block and cement basement is sometimes overwhelmingly large. Again, because our house is small, we lack storage and so many items end up piled in the basement awaiting further action. Maybe they need repaired, or given away. Sometimes we are just waiting for a permanent location to arise. Sometimes, we're just lazy and need to get something out of our sight so that we don't have to think about cleaning, fixing, or putting the item away. Regardless of the reason, our basement is one of those "pile" locations.
I often find myself putting off a task because it seems too large to me. I tell myself that I can't possibly clean the basement because I have to educate the children. That takes the morning and part of the afternoon. When am I supposed to clean the basement?!? You see, I must clear an entire day. Maybe even a weekend to get this basement in order!! It's an all-day job! And so, the basement doesn't get cleaned, because I don't have all-day. Weekdays are filled with lessons, cooking, trips to the library. Weekends include a football game on Saturdays and, of course, church on Sundays. So there isn't a day that is wide-open for me to clean the basement.
It's funny how God will speak to you when you let him. For me, when I stop listing my excuses and get quiet, He shows me a way to accomplish things. Concerning the basement, God gave me a mental image of the basement divided into quadrants. It is very easy to envision because the steps already divide it in half and there are posts that divide the halves into halves. I have four sections to my basement. Why is this important? I can clean a section at a time. I can clean a section in a little over an hour, if I don't try to tackle the entire basement at once! This is do-able!!! Praise God!
And so, last Friday I marched down the basement steps with my two boys, a broom, dust pan, and garbage bag. We worked until the garbage bag was full and the floor in a quarter of the basement was clean. This morning, Monday, the boys decided to take a bath after I gave them hair cuts, so off to the second quadrant I marched. This time, I cleaned the basement and filled the steps with things to be either moved to other parts of the house, or given to charity. I called the boys and they worked on clearing the steps while I finished up the second quadrant of the basement.
An hour later, half of my basement is beautiful! The floor is swept there is a place for everything. There are wide-open-spaces in which to walk. It is a thing of beauty. As I walked outside to put something into the van which would be taken to the thrift store I looked at our screened-in porch (the boys call it the "screaming" porch) and said, "You're next!" And I'll tackle it one 3 foot strip at a time, beginning in the front and working daily until I get to the back.
Why am I telling you all this? Because each of us has a basement looming in our future. There is some project that in our minds seems to large to tackle. Don't let perfectionism paralyze you! Take your task to the feet of your Father and ask Him to show you how to accomplish it. Maybe He'll clear your schedule so that you have an open day to accomplish your task. Or maybe He'll give you a new and creative way to accomplish your task. He'll show you that to eat your elephant, you just take one bite at a time!