I think songwriters are some of the most creative people not really known to others. I tend to only realize a person is a songwriter when I like a song enough to look up the album details and see who helped create it and realize that the person who is singing the song that emotionally moves me so much is also the person who helped write those same words.
I’d like to think that music is one way I can connect to people and the situation I’m going through at the time, and there are a plethora of songs that when they play within my range of hearing I tend to turn them up and give them my utmost attention.
Live Small by Josh Wilson is one of those. When it starts it sounds like it might just be an upbeat and positive song to have in the background on your commute to school or work, but when you pause and really listen to the lyrics, or even look them up like I did this morning, you might be surprised what you find.
It’s a momma singing songs about the Lord
It’s a daddy spending family time that the world said he cannot afford
These simple moments change the world
So already, I’m connecting with the song because he’s talking about “a daddy spending family time that the world said he cannot afford” and I immediately think of Mister and all the efforts he puts into spending time with the kiddos when I’m at doctors appointments (and there are many), running errands (Target while kid-less is awesome) and just simply spending time with us when he has a mental to-do list a mile long, but family is important to both of us and we want to impart that truth to Munchkin and Little Miss.
When I was in school in the late 90’s there were a slew of motivational posters that tried to do just that, motivate us to do better in whatever classroom we were in, but sometimes they fell short of the mark. As cute as the animals might have been (cause they were adorable), the messages talked of teamwork, inspiration and creativity as if they were different shirts we could change into at the drop of a hat.
The overarching idea of those posters, to me, was that with just the right keyword and cute animal put together on a poster, you could look at it and achieve whatever you needed to at the time like a hidden superpower in your backpocket. Whether it was a class presentation worth half of your grade that you cobbled together in study hall that day or a simple review of how to tell time in German I looking at the following poster could make everything alright for you.
I think those motivational posters morphed us into people who think we need to do it all and always be busy. Being busy isn’t a challenge we all need to accomplish, taking the time for the simple and small things can be exactly what we need at exactly the right time, which is were “Don’t buy the lie you’ve gotta do it all” hits hard. All too often we try to get together with friends and tend to put it off because we are “just SO busy” or “can’t be spared from X”, but the chorus reminds us that just because society tries to dictate our lives, we don’t have to follow along.
But dream small
Don’t buy the lie you’ve gotta do it all
Just let Jesus use you where you are
One day at a time
Loving God and others as yourself
Find little ways where only you can help
With His great love
A tiny rock can make a giant fall
Yeah, five loaves and two fish’s could feed them all
So dream small
This week is Thanksgiving and with it comes pre-Black Friday sales, post-Black Friday sales and Cyber Monday deals. One day of deals that isn’t as advertised as any of those is: Small Business Saturday. Now there is a bit of irony here, because the bulk of the advertising for it comes in conjunction with American Express, who I’m sure would love for you to have one or more of their cards and use them to your hearts content. The idea seems to be to encourage us to shop local to us and if we’re using our Amex card that’s all the better.
Doing a quick google search about Small Business Saturday I came across this tidbit:
“Small Business Saturday is one day every year set aside to a support small businesses across the entire United States. The event was started by American Express in 2010 and is celebrated on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Nestled in between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, this event encourages consumers to get out and shop at their local neighborhood stores.”https://www.thebalancesmb.com/small-business-saturday-4147459
So the idea is cool, and it apparently has encouraged small businesses across the United States to remain in business and even sometimes grow, which is really cool for me and my handmade business to hear. I wonder if Josh Wilson knew that tidbit of information when he was talking about “dream small” and “find little ways where only you can help”. The idea isn’t just up for consideration when you’re searching for that perfect Christmas gift for that uncle twice removed who’s always at the family holiday gatherings, it’s also for us to consider what ways we can use our own time, talents and treasures to help others.
In the song there are examples given of how we can think of others and do things for them and with them to help spread the love of God to them. Awesome examples like “visiting the widow down the street” or “dancing with your friend with special needs” can make a big difference to those who we are helping and to us who take the time, clear our “busy” schedules and serve others. It also reminds us that bigger dreams are alright to have, but to not miss the small things that are there as we strive towards the bigger things.
It’s visiting the widow down the street
Or dancing on a Friday with your friend with special needs
These simple moments change the world
Of course there’s nothing wrong with bigger dreams
Just don’t miss the minutes on your way, your bigger things
‘Cause these simple moments change the world
I think the bridge portion of the song is a nice reminder for us to not get bogged down with all the “should be’s” we are given throughout life, especially when we achieve adulthood.
Keep loving, keep serving
Keep listening, keep learning
Keep praying, keep hoping
Keep seeking, keep searching
Out of these small things and watch them grow bigger
The God who does all things makes oceans… from river
In this holiday season, and beyond, let’s take time to slow down when we can and find ways to share ourselves with others; our family who could benefit from an in-house movie night complete with yummy popcorn and fancy snacks, to a neighbor who may not have family close-by who makes an amazing Thanksgiving dessert and would love to have a place at your dinner table on Thursday, to a kid who’s an outsider in school and might benefit from someone even saying “Hi, how was your break?” when you get back to school next week.
Small efforts can lead to big things, songs can be good reminders for us to see others like Christ sees them and no one is unlovable to God.