How to Eat a Whale
I think of one my biggest vices is my impatience for big projects. I am quick to get excited about starting long journeys, whether it be a long car ride, a journey to get in shape, or diving into a dense book. But halfway through the trip, when I wake up and my muscles hurt, or when my head is fogged with big ideas, I have been known to quit. Not due to laziness or an unwilling spirit, but an impatience with myself that I have yet to arrive. Am I driving too slowly? Am I not working out enough? Am I not reading at a fast enough pace? But I think an impatience can be more problematic than a laziness to motivate.
Starting and maintaining a discipline is just that: a discipline. It’s easy to start off strong, picturing how sweet it will be when you reach the end of your goal. But is a fascination with the end result or experience stripping us of the joy of getting there?
Proverbs 8 discusses this attitude. Solomon calls us to “listen to my instruction and be wise; do not disregard (wisdom). Blessed are those who listen to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway. For those who find me find life and receive favor from the Lord.” Here, Solomon tells us to wait daily at the Lord’s doors, awaiting instruction in wisdom. This is a habitual action that we must do every day. Solomon never tells us when we have “arrived” but simply that those who find the Lord find life and favor from Him. We don’t find favor when we’re perfect, but when we have an attitude of receiving the work that has been set before us.
So is it wrong of us to have the desire to get better or to start a big project? By no means. However, we must also routinely check our motives. If our motive is not rooted in the right reasons, a drive to “get better” will only last so long.
Therefore, when we want to start a life giving habit, or grow closer in our relationship to the Lord, we must awake every day and meet the Lord, walking in His wisdom and His calling. For it is there that we receive His favor and can continue walking in a way that is pleasing to Him, as well as fill our cup for the day to do the things we feel inspired to do.
A good friend of me once asked me the best way to eat a whale. One bite at a time. We should not expect to arrive the moment we set our minds to do something. We do not have the power to do so. However, we meet with the Lord anew every day, for He gives us the power to change ourselves and others by His grace for the good of those who strive to know Him. So eat your whale one bite at a time, and find comfort in the discipline of disciplines. – Katie Hufnagle
Journal Guide: Take some time to get alone today and take about 15-20 minutes to journal through these questions. Journaling is a way we pray to God, so see what God might be telling you.
1. What was a goal you had for yourself recently? How did it go?
2. What was your driving motivation for this goal?
3. What are ways we can rely on the Lord anew every day to help us accomplish these goals?
4. Take some time to write a prayer to God.
Conversation Guide: Ask three questions to your siblings and parents. We think doing it over the dinner table or right after dinner is a great time to do it.
1. Recall a time when you relied on the Lord’s wisdom in pursuing a goal.
2. What is the hardest part about starting a new discipline?
3. How can we hold one another accountable in the disciplines the lord is leading us to?
Prayer: Read Proverbs 8 and then read this prayer by yourself:
Dear God, thank you for your new mercies every day. I pray that I can remain steadfast in you as I move closer to accomplishing new goals that I have in your name. Keep my motivation on you as I seek your wisdom and guidance every day. Help me remain patient and consistent as I continue to step in your ways. I love you. Amen.