I grew up with lots of ambition. I was smart and had big plans. And, they were good plans. Plans that even included God. I was going to go to college and then medical school and then practice medicine in some way that honored God. I wanted to have a Big Life. I wanted to do Big Things for God. While I was in college, I was in Alpha Phi Omega, a service fraternity, where we did lots of practical things for people who needed help. That kind of thing energized me. And I wanted my life to be full of that kind of work, particularly in medicine.
Before I got into medical school, I thought I might want to be the first female Surgeon General. Well, Dr. Antonia Novella beat me to that. Besides, I applied twice for US Public Health Service Scholarships and was turned down both times. After a couple of rotations in my third year of medical school, though, I realized that I wanted to practice family medicine. I wanted to do it all – deliver babies, take care of children and adults, do hospital work, take care of nursing home patients. Basically, I wanted to do rural family practice. I still wanted to do Big Things for God. And I still think that God was OK with this plan at the time.
But something happened. Migraines. Big, bad, ugly migraines. And now I’m not living a Big Life or doing Big Things for God. And it appears that God is OK with this right now. In fact, it might be His plan for me right now. In 1 Timothy 6, we read that “contentment with godliness is great gain”. Sometimes, God wants us to live a small life. And that a life where we love our family and neighbors and serve those who come in our way may be the life God calls us to.
I’m writing about this tonight because Jeff Dunn wrote about something very similar on Internet Monk. He talks about how he is living a small life, but is able to really know and serve people on a daily basis. PWM and I are finding the same thing in our little yarn shop. In fact, PWM and I were talking today about how big we want our yarn shop to get. We want to be big enough to make a living off the shop, but not so big that we don’t know our customers.
This is a really counter-cultural idea. We should always be getting bigger and bigger, we’re told. In some cases, that’s true. God uses some people in big ways. But sometimes, God just wants us to be faithful in our little corner of the world. And it’s OK if we live a small life – as long as it’s a life of obedience and faithfulness and a life of walking with Jesus on a daily basis. I pray that’s the life I have right now.