It’s happened to all of us: a challenge, problem, or fear comes out of nowhere, and we freeze. A little inner voice tells us we can’t face it; it’s too big for us.

Frankly, problems like war, recession, unemployment, poverty, violence, and pollution seem to get worse by the day. It might seem easier to ignore them and pretend they don’t exist. We can do that very easily by busying ourselves in front of a screen until our eyes hurt. Don’t really like the movie you’re watching to distract yourself? No problem: you can pass the time looking the actors up on IMDB. Of course we want to change the world… But maybe tomorrow, or, better yet, next week. Anyway, what can one person do against huge geopolitical, economic, or ecological forces?

Do everything for Love. In that way there will be no little things: everything will be big.
St. Josemaria, The Way, no. 813

Okay. If you want to move and shake things, you can. Putting your heart into every moment of your day is the greatest revolution. When you do things for God, they’re infinitely valuable. Any action carried out for love of God (brushing your teeth, studying, making your bed, listening to music, reading, going to the movies…) becomes transcendent. Those little things turn into something so vast that their value shines in Heaven.

Let’s be more specific. How do we know if we’re working for the love of God? There’s no exact recipe; but it might be helpful to think like little children: when they make a drawing for their mom, they draw a head and a heart, and that’s enough to make her smile. It’s the same with God. He is happy when we try our best to do “little things” for Him every day.

Here are a couple of concrete tips that might help:

  • When starting your study or work, turn to God: "Lord, I'm going to start this for You."
  • Listen attentively and affectionately to someone you might not "click" with.
  • Try to respond cheerfully when someone asks you for a favor; remember that what you do for someone else – fundamentally – you do for God.
  • Place a crucifix on your desk or workspace; when you feel tired, look at it and find the encouragement to keep going.
  • Do what you must and be present in what you do: try to fully engage in the task at hand. If it helps, leave your phone where it won't distract you.
  • Finish what you’ve started.
  • When you wake up, think: what can I do today to make someone’s day better?
  • Look for moments of silence and prayer during the day, even if they're brief: that’s your time to "recharge" in your relationship with God.
  • When entering a room, think: how can I leave this place better than the way I have found it?
  • Develop your sense of wonder through art, nature, and reflection: this helps us perceive the value of little things.

Like many simple-sounding things, it’s not that easy in practice. The casual atmosphere around us (plus our own love of comfort!) makes it hard to keep going when we’re tired. We’re tempted to give up when we can’t figure something out the first time we try. Hearing about other people who are better, holier, or more capable than we are might be discouraging. We feel like we’re so far behind that we’ll never catch up. It’s very easy to be pessimistic when our efforts don’t seem to pay off or make a difference. And we get frustrated by our own weakness when we don’t follow through on the resolutions we’ve made.

What are we to do in the face of these obstacles? Try again. Holiness means getting up time and time again, trusting that God is guiding us, even if we don't always realize it. Holiness isn’t the same thing as perfection: it's knowing that God loves us unconditionally, and accepting that love as a gift.

When we accept his love, God invites us to share it with others, starting with those who are closest to us (family, friends, neighbors) and going on to those that are far away. Well-done work, little things done for love, smiling in times of tiredness… all those things, small as they may seem, are incredibly valuable when we unite them to Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross.

That way we can be sure we’re having an impact on the world, our homes, and our families.

Let’s go back to our first question: can we really change the world? Yes, and our impact is greater than this world. With God, we have the power to make small things great, limited things infinite, and insignificant things transcendent. "These world crises are crises of saints" (Friends of God, no. 4). Do you want to make an impact on the world? Start now, while you finish reading this article. And no matter how many times you fail, always, always try again.