Ditching the Small Stuff.


When I arrived at my first yoga class last Thursday, the instructor said that her goal is for us to learn how to move into the headstand position with control.

Did you catch the key word there? Control. Almost anyone can put their head on the ground, place their hands on either side, through throw their legs up against a wall, and call it a headstand. That’s not what our goal is.

Our goal is to intentionally move our bodies so that we have control of each progression toward the headstand.

So we did planks to strengthen our core. We spent time in poses that stretch our hamstrings. When we gain control in the small stuff, we will also have control in more challenging moments.

If we ditch the small stuff, we’ll have little hope of reaching a controlled headstand. At least, not in a way that doesn’t leave us feeling defeated.

On a similar note, my six year old sister had her first ballet class the other night. When I asked her how it went, I quickly learned that she was expecting to do much more than the basics. After I tried to explain that it’s important to start small so we can do the big stuff well, she proclaimed, “But I don’t WANT to do the small stuff!!”

We’ve all been there.

We want to skip ahead to doing choreographed ballet routines instead of learning first position, to writing best-selling novels instead of short papers, to performing in stadiums instead of coffee shops, to being the CEO instead of an intern.

Believe me, I get it. I spend a lot of time fighting against the small stuff, too.

But the small stuff – annoying and irrelevant as it seems – is the key to success.  Like taking the time to build a strong foundation for a house, we can’t afford to skip the steps that will hold us up later.

In the youth ministry class I’m taking, we’ve talked a lot about values and purpose statements. About how outlining our core values will help us define better goals, provide those around us with more clarity about what to expect, and  keep us from drifting off course.

Values and purpose statements function as our foundation. They provide strength and support as we continue to grow.

I’m starting to think this explains why I have felt unsure of my direction, unsuccessful as a writer, and unable to make Pure & Simple all that I dream it could become.

I’ve been trying to a headstand without learning how to control my body. I’ve been trying to be an impressive ballerina without spending any time learning how to position my feet. I’ve been trying to build a strong house without laying a foundation.

No matter how much I love writing blog posts, I’ve realized I can’t go on without a foundation any longer. Pure & Simple – like many things in life – cannot survive long-term if there are no values in place to give it direction.

So this week, I went on a rescue mission of sorts to uncover the values that started all of this. And I’ve gotta say, I’m really excited about the five key values I walked away with:

  1. Having honest conversations
  2. Lightening burdens
  3. Empowering the imago Dei
  4. Confronting brokenness
  5. Remembering God’s faithfulness

For the next few weeks, I’m going to walk you through what each of these mean to me, why they matter, and how I think they impact our world.

I’m excited to bring you all in – for real, this time. To truly give you an idea of why I’m here. To make it clear that you aren’t just reading random thoughts, but that each post is tied to something. I’m excited to see how YOU interact with the values as we move forward.

I’m ready to build the foundation Pure & Simple needs so it won’t crumble under the stress of desired popularity, uncertainty, or anything else.

At the end of the day, though, I’m also doing this because I think values and purpose statements are bigger than ministry or blogging. All of us drift off course and get distracted. We all get wrapped up in not wanting to do the small stuff. Maybe identifying our values – and therefore our purpose – is the first step to regaining control over the direction of our jobs, our relationships, and our lives as a whole.

I believe that knowing our individual purposes allows us to say yes to more things we resonate with and no to things we would typically feel obligated to do. That setting our own expectations for ourselves means we can be free from standards we never agreed to meet in the first place. That we can finally live fulfilled lives centered on our purpose rather than on what pulls us off course and doesn’t satisfy us anyway.

I believe all of this starts with knowing what you value. From there, I have a feeling the possibilities are endless.