A Small Life

We all love to hear little children talk about what they want to be when they grow up. When they are small enough that the world hasn’t disappointed them yet, you can sit them down and ask them what they want to be when they grow up. You’ll see eyes light up as hopes and dreams burst forth. They want to be nurses, teachers, doctors, lawyers, firefighters, or soldiers. They often want to do something big that makes a difference in the world—that leaves a legacy and changes lives.

I’m always inspired when I talk to someone who, as an adult, is still living out that childhood dream. Because for most of us, we get disappointed, disillusioned, and sometimes, crushed along the way. Our dreams get lost, twisted, or stolen. And we end up merely existing, instead of really living.

When I was small, I didn’t have a big dream to change the world. My dream was simply to be surrounded by people I loved and to be able to take care of them. I wanted to be the best daughter, sister, wife, and mother, cherishing and nurturing those closest to me. I didn’t need to cure a disease or find world peace to make my dreams come true—I just needed to love and be loved. To me, that was revolutionary enough.

A little funny and ironic, I think, that now I’m a middle-aged single woman that lives 3,000 miles from my family…

Although my life didn’t turn out like I pictured, my dream still remains that I would love and be loved. I have bad days, but most of my better days start out with a prayer that I’ll be a blessing to someone. Sometimes, it’s hard to smile, but my biggest smiles come from making others smile; and nothing lights up my day more than making one of my friends laugh—especially when they’re down. Some days I get selfish and lose my focus, but my whole goal remains to live a small life, but to love people well.

One of my favorite quotes is from Mother Teresa: “We can do no great things, only small things with great love.” As much as I screw up along the way, I hope that at the end of it all, those who knew me can say that this was true of me.

In this week’s chapter, Tozer talks about how to live your life as a sacrament. He says that the life of a Christian doesn’t have to be a burdensome one filled with highly religious activities. In fact, he points out that Jesus’ life wasn’t like that. Sure, he prayed and went to the temple, but he also went to parties and hung out with prostitutes—decidedly not a religious activity. My friend, John Hobbs says that we can go anywhere and do anything as long as we don’t have to let go of God’s hand to do it. Tozer says this: “Let us believe that God is in all our simple deeds and learn to find Him there.” (Tozer, 68) For me, those simple deeds may be anything from taking hikes with my friend, Cari or sitting at a dirty table in the middle of Congo, counting pills for patients in a medical clinic. On a day-to-day basis, it’s keeping my temper when people are dancing on my last nerve, or instead of launching into a litany of complaints about some aspect of my life, asking my friends how their days were and listening to their answers with a sympathetic ear. And while these things aren’t always easy, they are part of loving well, and of living my small life as a sacrament. And when I can put myself aside enough to do them they can make a difference in someone’s world.

This post is part of a weekly discussion on AW Tozer’s “The Pursuit of God.” If you’ve written a response to the chapter, please post it at the widget below. And make sure to drop by my co-facilitator, Jason Stasyszen’s site to see what he has to say. Believe it or not, next week, we’ll be wrapping up this book with a final discussion on Chapter 10. We hope to see you then.


About Sarah Salter


  1. I love that Mother Theresa quote. And yours is a noble goal- to love well. If we all applied that “simple” goal to our lives and our jobs, I believe the world would be a better place.

  2. Great quote and so true. Many want to do something big, but they refuse to start where they are. Loving in the small ways leads to the capacity for much more that God will pour through us. Thanks Sarah.

  3. My friend, one of my great joys is the hikes we take together. Even if we are not talking, just enjoying the peace and beauty of the forest with someone I adore so much is a gift to me. I treasure our friendship more than you know, and I hope I make you smile as much as you do me!

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