Recently while reading “Life of Union with Mary” by Emile Neubert (pick it up, trust me), I ran across the French proverb: “Qui trop embrasse, mal étreint,” which means “he who reaches for too much, grasps nothing.” This nugget of wisdom struck me because I fall in this trap often. I find myself seemingly paralyzed from progressing. I’ve got lots grand ideas of what I ought to be doing or the person I think I should be, but I never seem able check the box and make any head way. Goal setting, whether it is professionally or personally, is an important step in creating change in one’s life. However, if we aren’t making incremental small wins every day then we can get trapped in the lie that we will never see the change in ourselves we yearn for.
This French proverb fits into the project that Ron and I have begun at Intentional Encounter. While we hope that this perspective of living intentionally helps others, the honest truth is that it is a most important step in my journey. Many of us find ourselves on the fence of life and never engage in change because well… it’s daunting. Where do I start? I’ve failed a hundred times before so what makes me think I can change this time? All of these kinds of questions swirl in our heads when looking to alter the trajectory of our lives.
If we are to grasp something and begin to crawl out of the hole we have dug for ourselves, then we must begin with a choice. Want to get in shape? Become a better disciple? Rekindle your relationship with your bride? Get promoted? Be a source of joy for your kids? Then we must begin incrementally and intentionally to do so.
If my goal is to get in better shape, start by doing 10 push-ups, 10 crunches and 10 squats. Then put a check mark on your list for the day because you had a choice and you crushed it. Each meal requires a decision. Pick up a grilled chicken salad covered in Balsamic Vinegar instead of Ranch, add a handful of nuts and chase it with some water. Check lunch off, because you killed that too. By looking at your goals in this way and breaking open the daily decisions that you encounter, you will make progress.
Soon, you’ll be able to look back on the day and see all the ways you’ve succeeded which will fuel the next day with the momentum needed to continue the path towards your goal. Becoming intentional about our daily activity flows through every aspect of our life. Reach for what’s in front of you daily while keeping the vision of your final objective. If we get caught reaching for too much too soon, we are in danger of grasping nothing.