Something is Better than Nothing

April 23, 2013 — 12 Comments

busy-bodies-need-massageIt happens all the time.

You don’t have time for a five-mile run anymore because you got trapped at work and left fifteen minutes late, so you don’t exercise at all. You don’t want to get trapped in a 45-minute conversation, so you let the call go to voicemail, which turns into yet another thing you have to do later. You want to blog, but you don’t have a 3 hour block to write, so you don’t write at all.

You don’t have time to do the ideal, so you don’t do anything.

But here’s what I’ve learned: Something is better than nothing.

Take a ten-minute run on the treadmill or a ten-minute walk around the parking lot at work (hint: bring your running shoes to work).

Answer your phone and talk for five minutes, then be done. When I actually do this, I feel so much better than having the voicemails stack up. And let’s be honest: no one actually wants to talk on the phone for 45 minutes, not even to you.

I write in spurts. I write a little bit at night, a lot during larger chunks every few weeks, and a little bit in the morning. I write paragraphs, not pages, at a time. If I had to have large blocks of time in order to write a sentence, nothing would ever get written.

As a pastor, people often ask to meet with me to talk, and if it seems appropriate, I ask them to join me on a run or a walk instead.

Some of you want to start a spiritual practice like praying or journaling or reading your bible but you keep doing nothing, because you think that for it to be legit, it has to be at least 45 minutes of spiritual intensity that results in a completely altered state of consciousness, every time. Start with five minutes. You can pray, or read some Scriptures in five minutes. Five minutes of turning yourself toward God every day would be incredible.

My experience is that the momentum of my life changes for the better when I quit pretending I have to do the enormous things for it to “count,” and I start doing the embarrassingly small things; the things I actually can do.

What small thing could you start doing that would bring momentum to your life?

12 responses to Something is Better than Nothing

  1. THANK YOU! Steve, I have been trying to get better at having “quiet/spiritual time” for awhile now. But each time I think “Oh I should read my devotional!” I know my baby will be up any minute or I have to get ready to go soon. So I skip, each day. And then I feel bad. It’s a never ending cycle. Thank you for reminding me that I don’t have to have a lot of time, I can have a little time and that is better then what I have been doing, nothing.

  2. Thank you. I think I may need to reread this a few times before I get it, but it truely resonates with me.

  3. Thank you for your challenge. I have just signed up to Scripture Union daily Bible readings and notes. I have real, actual notes, but haven’t been doing them, and because I didn’t start properly when I was meant to, I have left them. This way I thought of doing but then never got round to. You’re smart to suggest DOING something, now.
    Considerer recently posted…Completely overthinking it then messing it upMy Profile

  4. This is brilliant and so appropriate for my life this week. I think I will go walk the dog NOW because something is better than nothing and the dog will be thrilled!

  5. I would have to start with 5 minutes of being completely alone and quite with God. It feels embarrassing to admit that I can only spare 5, but that’s where I am in my life so that’s where I have to start. I know God will meet me part way, but I’ve got to start my own journey to him. Thanks for the post, Steve.

    • Yes! I think it’s a great place to start. Being with God should feel restful and do-able, not another thing we feel guilty about!

  6. I agree so much with this. 10 minutes per day is 70 over the course of a week. It may not seem like much, but if you can get into a habit of doing a little each day then it becomes so much easier to increase that time incrementally.

    Consistency is what matters!

    Thanks for the reminder Steve!
    Andrew Gilmore recently posted…The Real Reason You Feel IncompleteMy Profile

  7. “Some of you want to start a spiritual practice like praying or journaling or reading your bible but you keep doing nothing, because you think that for it to be legit, it has to be at least 45 minutes of spiritual intensity that results in a completely altered state of consciousness, every time.”

    This is me, exactly. I feel like I have to devote a lot of time and attention or it’s not good or respectful enough for God. My “small step” was checking a family bible out of the library–two page, illustrated, annotated stories that are much less daunting than tackling the whole book. I look at it as following how Jesus wanted us to come to Him as children. :)

    Thanks for this.

  8. It always seems the thing I want more of is TIME!
    This morning as I’m looking at the clock and getting ready for work I realize I only have about 15 minutes to squeeze in my morning yoga stretches and my 10 minutes of solitude & silence listening for God. As I was about to choose one I realized why don’t I do both at the same time. I shut the TV off put my CD on and moved through my stretches while silently listening for God. It was awesome. So I agree even if you only have time for a little do it or combine it!!!

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