Another link in the chain

Each day we’re given is another opportunity to grow and to serve. We’re given different circumstances – sometimes it’s easy, sometimes it’s super hard – to do this within and there’s an extent that we’re expected to take our growth and service in each day.

It’s tempting to fall prey to the ambition to grow more than we’re intended that day and to serve more than we’re asked. These temptations, however noble they may appear to be, fall under self-love and spiritual pride. It is humbling to recognise that Jesus only wants a specifically measured amount each day, and provides enough grace for that measured amount of growth and service.

What we must remember is that today is one small part of the full journey – one link in a very long chain. Each of those links needs to be strong for the whole chain to be strong. So even if we did a bunch “extra” today, to make a particularly incredible link – going above what Jesus may have intended – we’ll have exhausted the graces he’ll have measured out for us and drained ourselves further than we needed to. Where does that leave us for the next day? Or the next? Inevitably, we’ll be weaker and less likely to give the “measured amount” for those days.

A chain filled with incredibly strong links and many weaker ones will never be as perfect as a chain filled with all reasonably strong links. Pacing ourselves so that every day can be as strong as Jesus intended (and no further) is hard, but necessary and important for our spiritual journey.

So how do we go about growing and serving just enough? It starts with being prayerfully united to Christ. Throughout the day, let Him tell us what we should do next – a prompt that may include “pause” or “slow down” or “that’s enough, go rest”. He is our well of grace and energy – even though we may remain near Him, if we’re not actually drawing from that well it doesn’t matter how close to it we are. It’s only good to us if we actually draw from it – this is where frequent prayer is critical. Small internal decisions to work with Him, to include Him. The more we do this, the more we can become aware of what “just enough” might be.

It also requires an increase in humility. It’s tempting to think of ourselves as capable – especially in our current culture. Moving at a steady pace but without being hurried goes against what many around us consider necessary. We may come across to others (or to ourselves) as being lazy, slow or lacking drive. These judgements need to roll off our shoulders rather than taken inside, which is a great practice in humility. This all adds to the measure of growth He’s able to give to us each day.

Let us continually remind ourselves that we’re more focused on following Him, listening to Him, and being able to offer to Him a beautifully strong chain when our final link is added.