Monday, January 5, 2009

Termites vs. tornadoes

I once heard someone say that every year, termites do more damage to homes than tornadoes. (Just now I did a little web research and found this site, which says that termites actually do more damage than fires, floods, earthquakes, and tornadoes combined.)

This is what popped into my head as I was thinking about New Year's Resolutions. Hang with me here as I try to explain...

I don't have an official list of resolutions, but I do have a general sense that I want to do a few things better this year than I did last year. I don't think I'm alone in having resolutions, and I also don't think I'm alone in starting them with a bang, only to slowly (or not-so-slowly) watch them fizzle into nothingness.

I generally have a great vision in my head - I see the many possibilities and the incredible benefits I will achieve. I get excited and start to develop plans, and do research, and set goals, and then I try to align my current self with my future ideal self. This is where I usually get derailed.

I think it's a case of not being able to "see the forest for the trees." (Or maybe it's a backwards version of this? Hmmm....) I see the entire forest and I want to conquer it, so I run as fast as I can towards it. I run with excitement - "look what I'm going to conquer!" But as I approach it, I see the trees. Oh, how many trees there are! I see them individually and think, "Oh man - I have to conquer that one, and that one, and that one..." The task suddenly seems daunting and impossible, and I feel horribly inadequate.

Then I fall asleep in the shade of a tree, and give up on conquering it, or any other tree, let alone the entire forest.

Does this sound familiar to anyone?

As I was thinking about all of this I realized that I want change to come like a tornado, or a hurricane, or an earthquake. I want it to come fast and furious; I want to see results!

This is when I thought about termites.

There is nothing spectacular about termites. They don't make the news. One little termite, all by himself, is not an immediate threat.

However, a lot of little termites, all taking one little bite at a time, can make a big difference.

I realized that I need to think like a termite. I can't "despise the day of small things," a quote taken from Zechariah 4:10. I need to go back and read more of Zechariah to refresh my understanding of the context of this verse, but after browsing the chapter it appears that God is presenting the vision of a huge task, and reminding the Israelites that great things have small beginnings.

(I was interested to see that this is also the chapter that says "'Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says the Lord." Interesting.)

I'm chewing this over right now, and trying to understand how to apply it to my life - specifically to my goals for the year. Heh - I just realized that I said "I'm chewing it over." Just like a termite. Maybe I'm making progress after all?

Slow and steady wins the race, right??


Willow Tree said...

Has anyone told you you're brilliant lately? BRILLIANT. I loved this post. Beginning to end, didn't want it to end kind of love - Well Said Friend! I'm So with you on the trees for the forest, lol, thanks for the scriptures to pray with!

Blessings, Carolynn

Monica said...

That's pretty profound. Something to truly "chew" on. :0)

Mo said...

This is such a cool illustration, and so true. Thanks for putting something so important into relatable terms.

I definitely don't think you're alone in your approach to resolutions, nor in wanting change to come tornado style. I'm right there with ya :) Here's to starting the New Year with termite nibbles!