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In the Process of Thinking Big, Don’t Forget to Think Small

I remember the day God said something to me!

Well, one of the days. Thankfully I’ve had a few powerful days when I sensed the Creator spoke clearly.

But I’ll be honest, as someone who is supposed to teach others how to have a relationship with God, and to actually hear from God, I’m always somewhat startled when He chooses to speak directly to me. (To be clear, most of the time I have heard God speak it has been through His written word and I know whatever I think I’m hearing would never contradict His word.)

Anyway, a number of years ago, He said something to me that I try to remember in life and leadership.

Let me set up the scenario for you, so you’ll understand the context.

On this particular week I was at the beach. My oldest son, Jeremy, was getting married and our youngest son Nate was his best man. I got to perform the ceremony. How cool is that? It was one of my all time favorite moments as a dad.

Anyway, on this morning I went for a morning run. As a runner, when I was out of town I normally ran farther, because the scenery changed. I had run 4 1/2 miles before I realized how long I’d been running. I decided to stop, buy a cold drink, and sit and look at the beach for a few minutes before running back. (Oh how I wish I could still run 9 miles in a day.)

As I was sitting there, I became enchanted with the size and power of the waves. I watched a little boy running away from them, and nearly get knocked down by one. I saw a couple walking the beach get splashed unexpectedly. Mostly, however, I just saw the beach being pounded by wave after wave after wave. I have been to the beach many times and I never get tired of watching the ocean display God’s glory. In that moment, I did as I’ve done so many times before sitting at the beach – I bragged to God about His handiwork.

I prayed something like this, “God, this is so majestic, so powerful, and You made it all. Every powerful wave I’m seeing today was hand-shaped by You! You are a mighty God! You do huge things! You are so incredible and worthy to be praised! What a mighty God I serve!”

Have you ever had such emotions flood you when you see God’s creation? 

Anyway, as I was praying, I sensed God say something else. It was almost as if He said, “Hold on Ron, (I always love that He knows my name) you’re talking so fast and thinking so big, you may have missed something.” I paused to listen to God and it seemed I heard Him say:

“In the process of thinking big, don’t forget to think small.”

I sensed it was Him, because I recalled the verse in Zechariah, which says, “Do not despise these small beginnings”. I also know God counts hairs on our head and He notices the sparrow. He apparently took time to “paint” the tiny spots on a Lady Bug also.

Then this passage came to my mind:

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you. Psalm 139:17-18

Instantly, I looked down and noticed the sand all around me. I was reminded that God made every grain of sand. I’ve been told that no two grains of sand are the same. And my God knows each one of them. The Bible seems to indicate God may know how many grains there are. (Or at least He could count them.) I think He does. He’s all-knowing.

I don’t know exactly all God was teaching me in that moment. I know I’m a big thinker. I always have a new dream. I was currently in a season of planning big things – good, hopefully God-honoring things. It is one of my favorite things to do.

I don’t think He was telling me not to think big. He gave me my creative mind. I’ll obviously never out-think Him and He tends to stretch us towards bigger dreams in His word (“No eye has seen, no mind has conceived, what God has prepared”).

I think He may have simply, kindly and gently reminded me that “In the process of thinking big, don’t forget to think small.

I think He may not want me overlook the smallest moments of life, such as holding the hand of the one I love, or hearing a baby giggle in the coffee shop, or the glance at a picture on my desk that reminds me of my wonderful family – or turning on the faucet and getting clean water to fill my glass. Sometimes in leadership I can be so focused on the overwhelming problems and obstacles we face that I fail to notice and celebrate the small steps of progress we are making.

You could add your own small things you shouldn’t take for granted.

Sometimes the small things ARE the big things.

How are you doing at enjoying the “seemingly” small things of life? 

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Ron Edmondson

Author Ron Edmondson

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Join the discussion 18 Comments

  • sakibul says:

    This is beautiful, thanks for sharing a little bit of your world!

  • Zacl Clinard says:

    Good topic Ron.
    I have been reading your blog for a few months now, and I always seem to learn something. Thanks for sharing your insight!

    My comment is in regards to the question you asked: "Do you have insight or thoughts for me as to what that could mean?"
    The thought that immediatley came to mind was of your offer a few weeks ago to help a church leader develop, free of charge. (If I mis-understood this, then please accept my apology) My idea follows that train of thought – leadershop development, but looks to aid the people who have yet to become leaders. Some may be hesitant to take on the helm of responsibilty & authority, some may desire it but be unsure how to grow on their own to better prepare for it. I see where your writing helps the established leader to improve, but what about those who have yet to get "there"? Those who know they have somthing greater to offer God, but are unsure how to find and develop 'it' on their own?

    Many blessings on your family's wonderful event!

  • Melissa says:

    Great post Ron!

    Congratulations on your upcoming weekend with family….and the addition of a daughter-in-law.

    Thanks again for the 'make me think' post.

  • Charles Norton says:

    I live in the country and love to sit outside and watch the tall oaks sway on a breezy day. I think how awesome God is to create all He has created, and I see the beauty of God in that. Anyway , one day I was admiring the oaks when I looked down and saw the smallest wildflower I had ever seen. It was so intricate, so detailed and beautiful and God reminded me of what I miss when I sometimes dont think small. Thanks for posting Ron. It was a reminder for me.

  • Maureen Small says:

    I am often reminded by God that His purposes for my life are lived out in the moment-by-moment decisions I make, and not always in some big ministry I take on or grand scheme I undertake. Perhaps that is part of what God was speaking to you.

  • Loved your post. Congrats on being able to marry your son. What a blessing for you! I, too, stand in awe of God's unbelievable creation. Seeing the majestic snow capped mountains all around us on an Alaskan cruise some years ago took my breath away. Here in Florida where we live, I can be awe inspired by the tiniest creatures….such as a lizard. The fact that God created the tiny little suction cupped feet on these lizards is amazing! What power, what creativity.

    God is probably reminding you Ron that you have a big picture but the details are just as crucial. Praising Him in both large and small reaps blessings. Enjoy your time and be blessed!

  • Kala Reyna says:

    well, I tried to see the other comments but my phone apparently isn’t that “smart”. oops. From my perspective, it’s a reminder of balance. Sigh, I love moments like these. Thank you for sharing!

  • @eccle0412 says:

    your noticing so validates me. Sometimes I think I am a freak because so many things big and small just jump out and yell "Here I AM". Of course we are too busy to NOTICE people let alone God. I think this is what it means to constantly pray, with thanksgiving. You almost can't help it. Of course I live in beautiful Northern CA. 🙂
    I think running, walking, or bicycling all open us up to our surroundings. When mom told us to "go out side" and "blow the stink off" I think she was saying, get outside of yourself.
    BTW running one day came upon me, God is hands free! Access and as the rest of the blue tooth attached world around talks outloud, so can we!

  • @drewdsnider says:

    Probably the most poignant time was when I sat down went to study and pray one morning and as I sat in my favorite armchair, I asked Him to show me something. I sat down, closed my eyes, and almost instantly, there flashed in front of me a scene of the universe — like what you'd see in special effects with the stars and planets. I don't know how long the image stayed in real-time, but the message was clear: "This is REAL." All the things He created, all the things we're taught about Him in His Word … it was the real thing. I must have been going through some kind of "faith crisis" that I didn't even know about, because it was exactly what I needed to hear from Him.

  • It takes a big picture dream (a large wave) to move things ahead. The big dreams are spectacular & beautiful! However, in order to accomplish the dream it takes a whole lot of little things working together to make it happen (the sand).

    Sometimes big picture dreamers forget to appreciate the little details it takes to make the dream reality. Sometimes they want to move ahead quickly (another wave) instead of taking a bit to consider the details (the sand).

    Sometimes people involved get knocked over and splashed because their part and focus is on the small details which take longer to accomplish than another wave or dream coming in. Too many dreams too quickly can overwhelm and knock people off their feet. For the dream to be reality it takes a leader who will take the time to focus for just a bit on the details many have to do before another wave comes in and be still and wait for just a bit.

    I love dreamers and leaders but I also love the detail people. God made both. Taking time to focus on the waves and also the sand reminds me of a team who choose to respect all the different views of what it takes to accomplish the goal of the big wave.

  • Brigitte Aton says:

    Ron, I have also had moments while sitting alone and I will catch a glimpse of His splendor in nature. It brings a smile to my heart and reminds me I am in the palm of His precious hand. I am also always thinking, so it helps me think about exactly who I am, His beloved. That helps everything else that maybe going on around me that seems to big seem suddenly not such a big deal when I remember I am resting in His hand. Even watching the wind that tickle the leaves of a tree are His handy work. It a pleasure to know He knows every hair on our head and His love for us is unimaginable, especially for those of us who are always imagining 😉

  • Eileen says:

    Looking at the ocean or a sunrise/sunset floods me with this type emotion too. I don't want to miss the moment by moment small blessings in the journey either. I think the Lord reminds me of this best through my 7 year old son. Our children grow up so fast and I don't want to miss those little moments I spend with him.

    • ronedmondson says:

      Thanks Eileen. Yes, we learn a lot through our children…and our oldest is getting married this week.

  • Tanna says:

    Sometimes we lose focus on the little things while our eyes are on the big picture. When working on a project recently I realized that one of the components that I thought was small ended up having a whole life of it's own. Sometimes we miss out on the potential that the small stuff has while thinking Big!