by Jesse Prentiss
I love a good campfire.
I love to rotate like a rotisserie chicken on a cold night in front of a fire. Toast marshmallows for s’mores. The dancing flames are mesmerizing. And thank you Texas for introducing me to the lovely smell of burning pinion wood.
But I hate kindling. I don’t have the patience for it. I just want the fire to ignite immediately. I waste a lot of time not taking the time to kindle.
The tiny small pieces of tinder are vital to starting a fire. Those small and tedious things that must ignite before the big pieces can catch. It can be beyond frustrating to start a fire when I don’t take the time and effort to kindle.
When I start something new I can get just as frustrated in the kindling phase. I just want the end result to happen, for the big things to hurry up and ignite.
After a move, so many new fires had to start back up in my life.
I wanted immediate friends, purpose, and success without the patience it takes to fuel and build those things.
When the big things I want in life don’t catch, I have the temptation to give up leaving me shivering in the cold darkness of insecurity.
Instead of giving up, I needed to light something smaller. I needed to kindle.
Go regularly to a new group. Give a compliment. Get my face out of my phone. Try a new restaurant. Join a workout. Find a place to volunteer. Shop in a local business. Write a thank you note. Take a different road. Make eye contact and smile. Sit next to someone. Sit next to them again next week, and the week after.
These small things feel vulnerable, awkward or useless but building new relationships, new purpose, and new identity take small intentional steps. Prayer, reading the Bible, time, remaining positive, repetition and patience have been the successful tinder.
Too often I’ll long for the blazing fires of yesterday after a move because I only remember the full fires, I forgot the time and effort those fires took to build.