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The Snowball Effect

The Snowball Effect

We got more snow last winter than I recall ever getting before. At one point, late in the winter, we felt compelled to remove some of the snow piling up on the roof of our house. As I huffed and puffed shoveling, my resourceful son simply started with a small snowball at the peak of the roof and rolled it towards the edge. I knew how to make snowmen, but I still didn’t think his plan would work. What started out as a five-inch snowball though, grew to impressive proportions by the time he got it to the edge.

I’ve seen this effect in my own life, though the outcome usually isn’t as productive. What starts out as a small indulgence – just one chip – snowballs into the whole bag. What starts out as sleeping in one or two days, turns into missing my prayer and meditation time for months.

For the those with significant life struggles, it takes daily discipline to abandon the old life to follow the new. Small failures then – even apparently insignificant ones – often grow into larger failures. Many of us have relapsed because we failed to work on the little triggers. I’m not suggesting that one donut leads to relapse but surrender to little things often leads to failure in bigger things which can and will lead to relapse.

Jesus taught this principle in today’s passage where he said that right behavior in the little things leads to right behavior in the big things. It’s not that the addict must live perfectly. No one lives perfectly. It’s that that we must continually examine our lives, working on our struggles, no matter how small they may seem.

How did I do today? Was I prideful, angry, lustful, selfish, or gluttonous? Where am I struggling? What do I need to work on? By being honest and introspective, taking a daily inventory, we can learn to work on the little things, so they don’t snowball. This will mean that we must start with taking daily time to connect with God, reading, praying, and seeking the right path. If we want to avoid the disaster of our way, and if we want to know true life, faith, and recovery, then we must follow that right path – even in the little things.

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