Things I Tell Myself: Be a Plodder


The other day I was listening to a podcast about home education, a decision in life which requires more than a little long-term perspective. The guest, who had herself raised and educated six children at home, attributed much of her success to being a “plodder.” She said one of her friends called her a plodder after observing how she faithfully, day-in-and-day-out, made her plans and executed them. Her efforts were nothing flashy, but her consistency over the long haul meant that she reaped great fruit after a time.

I suppose this is nothing more than a retelling of the Tortoise and the Hare, but of course it’s true that “slow and steady wins the race.” All our extravagance and attempts at quick success cannot substitute for consistent effort over the long haul. We cannot make huge strides each day, but we can take one more step, try one more time, get up one more morning and do it again. All of these little efforts add up to more than we could ever achieve in one day of monumental success.

Plodders are everywhere, but you often don’t see them. They are quietly making progress behind the scenes while the whole world clamors for more attention. They get up early and unlock the church. They put the last few dishes in the dishwasher before bed. They show up on time. They take their vitamins and walk the dog. They make the hard phone call. They practice their instruments every day. They budget. They listen longer and think for a minute, then they get back to work.

At the top of my plans for school this year I have written in capital letters, “BE A PLODDER.” This sentiment is not to inspire mediocrity in myself or my children, but rather to inspire consistency, or, as the Bible observes it, faithfulness.

How is God a plodder? Where is He quietly faithful? His excellency is seen in the sun rising each day, the rain falling on the just and the unjust, the turn of seasons and steadiness of the tides. This is the quiet, common grace extended to all as a manifestation of His undiminished, extravagant glory.

But usually we are all too busy to notice.

Things I Tell Myself: A Sense of Place

My bedroom is always the last one to get cleaned.  The garage usually gets attention before my bedroom does.  Is that true at your house?

Problem is, I have a desk in the bedroom where I love to sit and blog, have my quiet time, write notes, plan for school…anything appropriate for the space.  And it’s the first thing to get buried every.single.time.
The sense of place is so powerful for me that if my place is buried, my routines and my habits go with it.  I let the quiet time in the morning slide because I don’t want to root through the piles on the desk.  I look at the mess with a feeling of foreboding.
The thing is, the kindest thing I could do for myself and my family would be to clear it off, make a place, and soak up the joy that comes with a little space.  But I always think I’m being kinder by addressing the kids’ spaces.  Yes, that is kind, too.  But teaching them to address their own spaces is the most kind thing I could do in the end.  And the time in my space makes me more capable to do that teaching.
Even if you can’t make a space in your house, make a basket.  Make a corner.  Something to set a habit, a routine, that makes some time to yourself a joy.
(this post written for you from my newly cleared-off, again, desk)

Things I Tell Myself: Stop and Look

A tiny snail on the front step as I stretch after my run

A bird’s nest found in the tree just last night, and the realization that I had missed its entire time of use

Sara’s song about sand really being crushed rubies and garnets in some places in the world

A shiny penny in a crack in the road

The garden jumping out of the ground after this time of rain

The smell of the woods:  wet leaves, mossy growth

Sandra’s article about creation care

….all calling me to stop and look, look, look

Earth’s crammed with heaven, 
And every common bush afire with God, 
But only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round and pluck blackberries.
-E.B. Browning