“Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don't be afraid or discouraged by the size of the task, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. He will see to it that all the work...is finished correctly.”
- 1 Chronicles 28:20 NLT
Once when I was at a wedding with family members years ago, I was speaking to my Aunt Peggy about my fears, worries, and concerns. She took my hand and led me to a long staircase in the restaurant in which we were dining. As we stood at the bottom, that flight of stairs loomed before us and looked endless. She pointed to them and told me not to look at the top or the middle, but only at the first step or two. She said that if I tried to take all the steps at once, I would fall. But if I took just one step at a time, I would eventually make it to the top. I often think of that lesson from my Aunt Peggy when I'm faced with difficult or scary tasks, and it helps me to put things in perspective.
The Lord reminded me of this lesson from my aunt recently when I had allowed my household chores to pile up to an alarming degree. Each time I thought about tackling the mountain of tasks that had accumulated, feelings of fear and dread would overwhelm me. After seeking the Lord in prayer, He instructed me to start out small by concentrating on only one room at a time, instead of the entire house all at once. Shifting my focus made all the difference. With God's help, I was able to begin the work--and beginning was the hardest part.
I've learned how various aspects of a task can intimidate us to the point where we will put it off as long as we can. The mere size of a task can frighten us and literally paralyze us with fear. We can also feel intimidated by any risks involved with the job, or any pressures associated with it. I know from experience how a fear of failure can immobilize us and hinder our productivity. Whatever the cause of our fear or dread, we don't have to let our fears control us. We can seek God in prayer and ask Him to help us focus on taking the first step involved with our task. If we refuse to focus on more than one step at a time, we'll be able to move ahead and begin to make progress. All the Lord wants is to see us make an effort to cooperate with Him in accomplishing our task. Once we demonstrate to Him that we're willing to take the first step, His grace will be there as we need it to take each successive step. I don't stop praying once I've actually begun a task. I keep praying all the way through, being sure to thank and praise God for His continued help. I always find that this not only helps me to complete the task, but to do it with more joy and satisfaction than I anticipated.
Proverbs 16:3 (TLB) says: “Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust Him to help you do it and He will.” As we ask in faith for God's involvement in all that we do, He rewards us with the motivation, energy, and skill we need to get the job done successfully. If you are a child of God, you've been equipped with Holy Spirit power to accomplish even difficult and “impossible” tasks with a holy ease and joy. So when you've got a daunting task before you, take heart from the words above that David spoke to his son, Solomon, when he was faced with the awesome task of building the temple of God. Don't be intimidated by the size or pressures of the task, but remember that God is with you and He will help you every step of the way!
Prayer: Lord, when I'm feeling discouraged and frightened over a task before me, show me how to focus on You, instead of my fears. Help me to concentrate on taking one step at a time, and to cooperate with You to accomplish the work with supernatural skill and ease. Thank You, Lord, that because You're with me, I shall succeed in all my undertakings! (2 Kings 18:7 TLB)
- J. M. Farro