Elephants Take Time

Our elephants will take a long time to eat and we might as well accept that in the very beginning. But here is the thing about time:  It stretches out like a vast ocean when it is in front of you, but is a drop from the faucet when it is behind you.Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could  lose 50 pounds in a week?  Or write a 40,000 word book in a day?

I’m still waiting for The Cat in the Hat to barge in with the Thinga-ma-jigger and declutter my house in an hour.  How about you?

We all know time doesn’t work that way. Our elephants will take a long time to eat and we might as well accept that in the very beginning.

But here is the thing about time:  It stretches out like a vast ocean when it is in front of you, but is a drop from the faucet when it is behind you.

drop from faucet

Don’t believe me?  Think about last Thanksgiving, when you were carving the golden brown turkey and piling Grandma’s secret family recipe pumpkin pie on your overloaded dessert plate. (By “secret family recipe”, we mean the one on the back of the Libby’s can, amen?)

It feels like yesterday to me, but, friends.  THAT WAS MONTHS AGO!!!

My point is this. While it may be frustrating to think about how long it will to take to eat your elephant, that’s no reason not to start.  When you get to the end, it will seem like it was no time at all!  Let’s talk about how to get over the time elephant as you get started:

  •  Be prepared mentally and emotionally.  This can be the hardest part, but it is also the most freeing part.  Once you have convinced yourself this is going to take weeks or months or even years, the “urgent” beast can be silenced.  The stress of feeling like you must do everything now is gone, freeing you to be more creative and purposeful in eating your elephant.
  • Be specific.  Somebody smart once said, “A goal without a deadline is just a dream.”  I’m a big believer in dreams. But dreams are also fuzzy, and not defined — up there in the air somewhere.  Giving yourself a specific deadline gives your dream some bones.  Now you can start making plans that stick.
  • Be realistic, but also be generous.  Do a little research; set a realistic time frame to reach your dream-turned-into-a-goal.  And then add a little extra.  Life happens.  So give yourself some lagniappe (that’s what we call “a little extra”  here in south Louisiana) and it will be easier to stay on track when things don’t go as planned.

So, have you thought about how long it will take to eat your elephant?  Some of you have shared your elephants in our comments and most of them will take longer than a month.  Have you prepared yourself for that?  Share here and let’s work on our elephants together!

Find all of the Eating Elephants posts here!

Do you have days when the words just won't flow?  Let me send you my list of 65  100 Christian Blog Post ideas along with weekly tips and resources.

This week I am linking up with Kelly Balarie at #RaRaLinkup, Holly Barrett at #TestimonyTuesday, Crystal Storms at #IntentionalTuesday, Holley Gerth at #CoffeeForYourHeart, Kelly Balarie at #RaRaLinkup, with Holley Gerth at Coffee for Your Heart with Crystal Storms at #HeartEncouragement, with Susan B. Mead at #DanceWithJesus, with Arabah Joy at Grace & Truth

23 thoughts on “Elephants Take Time”

  1. I love this!!! The proverbial elephant in the room that takes up so much space and can overwhelm all other parts of our life. Thank you for the Thanksgiving example to understand how to eat through our elephants deliberately and realistically. Visiting you from #RaRalinkup

  2. Christa, This is sooo good! We live at a time when everything seems like it should be fast and easy. I have laundry to do this afternoon and often think about what it was like for my mom. I push two buttons and 40 minutes later I push two more… fold, hang, and put away.

    But most important things in life take time and effort. Thanks for reminding us to be prepared, specific, and and realistic. Blessings to you!

    • You are so right about that. Think of all the time-saving devices we have, but yet, we still feel like we have no time! Thank you for stopping by!

  3. Christa, what a great word to just get started … no matter how long it takes … one bite at a time. Thank you, Christa, for sharing your heart at #IntentionalTuesday on Intentionally Pursuing. : )

    • I agree, June. The elephant looks so big, we just can’t make ourselves get started. Thanks for visiting and I hope you’ll join us for the rest of the series!

  4. There is such wisdom in this post. Thank you for breaking it down into bite-sized pieces for us to digest. I am waiting for the Cat-in-the-Hat to come my way, too. Wouldn’t that be fun?!


  5. I love this – such great advice to tackle our elephants! Especially, just get started and define / name the elephant. can’t wait to keep reading in this series – have been in the process of eating my elephant for several years now and it’s a process, but one in which I do see the progress.

  6. Christa, what a great post! I know my elephant, and yes, it’s going to take longer than a month. I appreciate the wisdom in making a plan, but also adding in a little margin time because things will probably take longer than I plan for because . . . well, life happens. 🙂

    I’m your neighbor at the#RaRaLinkup this week. It’s nice to “meet” you!

  7. Just look at all those comments! Somehow it’s encouraging to know I’m not the only one struggling to get the elephant on the plate. Thanks for permission to be pleased with just getting the beast into the kitchen.

  8. Sometimes, giving myself grace has been the biggest impediment to finishing the elephant. I’m in the midst of a big project right now and I can hardly make any progress on it because so many smaller tasks come along…. I keep saying I should be patient with myself, but patience may be the thing keeping me from progress… As always, great words, my friend!


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