My sister’s roommate got a puppy a couple of weeks ago, and my sister asked me for some training tips. I offered the help I had and ended by stressing that they wouldn’t see an overnight change but that if they kept working at it, one day, they’d realize his behavior had improved.

This advice applies to a lot more than just dog training.

Each time you work toward a goal is a drop in a bucket. Eventually, it fills up; you have what you’ve aimed for.

My husband and I purchased our house in 2003 or 4 and remodeled it completely. Recently, I looked back at pictures of our house from back then and realized how far we’d come since we’d “finished” fixing up the house.

We added a patio, a front walk, a privacy fence, a shed, landscaping, new flooring, different paint, and custom-made furniture.

Each of those actions was a drop in the bucket. Now, the bucket is full. We have a home we’re proud of that we’re able to sell in order to move on to the next thing.

So, though the idea of starting over in a new house was a bit overwhelming, I realized that it’s not about doing everything all at once. It’s about taking one step at a time, and building something worthwhile in the long run while enjoying what I have in the short run. It’s about putting drops in the bucket.

Puppy training, home ownership, writing, career… Come to think of it, crochet is like that, too.

When I start a complicated pattern, I have to blindly follow the directions as best I can for the messy first rows before I see the pattern emerge. This struck me so deeply that I used it in a novel, applying it to life. Hopefully someday, you’ll get to read that, but for now, I’m still taking my writing career one stitch–one drop in the bucket–at a time.

At the moment, though I love that novel and want to see it on shelves (or better yet, in hands!), I’m content right where I am. I’m on my way, and I know God has a plan.

My sights aren’t on tomorrow. I’m aiming for the beautiful someday when the bucket will overflow.

Yours will, too. Keep at it. Sometimes, you’ll be dripping just one droplet of water into your goals at a time. Sometimes, progress will pour down. Persist in what God’s called you to, and someday you’ll look back and realize just how full your life has become.

What dreams or goals are you working toward? How do you find encouragement to persevere?