Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin… Zecheriah. 4:10
I’m convinced that you (and everybody else on the planet) have at least one secret heart’s desire. It could be the degree you want to complete, the business or ministry you want to start, the career you’d love to pursue or the time-saving gadget you aim to invent. Whatever it is, you’ve dreamed of it forever and it’s your own personal treasure. Sadly, it will remain buried treasure until you get started doing something about it.
It’s not that we’re lazy or short on faith or ambition. It’s just that we’ve already got so much to do: bills to pay, mouths to feed, loved ones to care for and enemies to avoid. So the clock keeps ticking, days become months, months become years and your dream keeps getting put on hold.
The truth is, I have sometimes been more a procrastinator than a pursuer myself. Years ago my dream was to become a published author, to write THE how-to book on relationships for a new generation of African-American readers. I did eventually achieve my goal, but not before discovering that finishing my book wasn’t nearly as hard as getting started on it.
Early on I somehow bought into the idea in order to sit down and write it, I first needed several crucial things—the perfect inspiration, schedule, writing space, and self-confidence–before I could begin. Procrastination is always about us thinking we need something more before we can even make a start. It quietly tempts us to wait because we know we can never fail at what we don’t attempt. I set every procrastinator’s favorite start date: “Someday.”
So I waited. I dreamed, hoped and pondered; I talked a good game but never got around to playing it. I sat idle and unproductive for months until I couldn’t stand my paralysis another minute. But nothing remotely resembling the writing of a book happened until I stopped waiting for that perfect “window of opportunity.” I pushed myself to begin doing a little something, not Someday, but right now.
I bought the pencils and laid out the paper. I set a realistic deadline and starting scribbling my scattered thoughts. I turned off the stupid TV—and my dumb excuses—and forced myself to produce at least three pages each day.
At the start, my efforts seemed insubstantial, motivated more by guilt than inspiration. But even guilt can be useful if it jumpstarts you into action. Slowly, but surely I came to realize that an object in motion—even slow motion—has every chance of eventually arriving its destination. And that an object at a standstill will inevitably, well, stand still.
One year after my ‘small beginnings” I completed How to Love a Black Man which went on to become a national bestseller. The procrastinator had become a published author without waiting on a miracle to make it happen!
None of us ever achieve our goals simply by intending to. Faith without works is dead; and talk is cheaper than ever. Those who finally realize their secret heart’s desire are those who rally the courage to start–and the discipline to continue.
Before your own dream fades any further, and before you talk yourself out of it ever pursuing it, simply commit to getting up and doing something purposeful starting now.
At the beginning your baby steps won’t impress you or anybody else, but it will be movement—not mere wishes and good intentions—but progress toward your very own secret heart’s desire. Progress trumps perfection every time.
Now is not the time to wallow in regrets dismissing your efforts as too little, too late. It’s time for you to get up and get going purposefully advancing toward what you’ve been dying to do all along. To start, virtually any action will do, anything at all—that is, other than simply waiting.