haba na haba

In a few weeks, I will be in Tanzania attempting to use my very limited Swahili vocabulary. ‘Jambo’  is hello. ‘Asante sana’  is thank you very much. I can remember those. Venturing beyond those simple phrases and I will be fumbling and mumbling. Thankfully, Tanzanians are very loving. They will encourage my feeble attempts to speak their language and overlook my mistakes. They will give much grace as much grace will be needed.

A new Swahili phrase I am appreciating more and more in my life is ‘haba na haba’ which means little by little. Perhaps it is due to my increasing age and my decreasing mobility that my life seems to fall into the mode of “little by little”. Trying to lose some weight? ‘Haba na haba’. Trying to clean the house? ‘Haba na haba’.

Recently,  my neighborhood has been buzzing with mulching, mowing and movement. Clearly it is time to throw off winter and get spring-time down and dirty. I walked outside but turned around and ran back inside. It was just too much; too many sticks, too many left-over dead leaves, too much work. It was overwhelming. I didn’t know where or how to start so I chose not to start. I did nothing. Instead of heaping on self-imposed guilt, I just needed to go ‘haba na haba’. I didn’t need to conquer the entire yard, just start with a small area. Afterall, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. ‘Haba na haba’.

When the Israelites were facing their elephant – conquering the Promised Land and all their enemies – God had a plan for success.

I will send my terror ahead of you and throw into confusion every nation you encounter. I will make all your enemies turn their backs and run. I will send the hornet ahead of you to drive out the Hivites, Canaanites and Hittites out of your way. Exodus 23:27,28 (NIV)

Then the “but”.  But how will God accomplish this?

But I will not drive them out in a single year, because the land would become desolate and the wild animals too numerous for you. Little by little I will drive them out before you, until you have increased enough to take possession of the land. Exodus 23: 30 (NIV)

‘Haba na haba’. God will drive out their enemies little by little; for their own good and to achieve success. image

While in Tanzania, my husband and the other brave members of the Compassion Team will be trekking to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro, a very challenging 19,341 feet. As the elevation increases and oxygen decreases, their guides will be reminding them to go ‘haba na haba’. One step at a time. Pace is important; acclimatization is a slow process. Go slow, take your time. You get to the top ‘haba na haba’.

My journey to know God is ‘haba na haba’.  My plan? Spend time with Him each day and repeat daily for the rest of my earthly life. He will go before me, He will drive out my enemies, little by little, ‘haba na haba’.

Let’s Walk Worthy!

photo credit: pinterest.com

6 Comments

  1. Love this! All too often I want to embark on a journey or project and finish it in one fell swoop, but of course anything worth doing usually requires small steps to reach the final outcome. Impatience is woven into life these days as no one wants to wait for anything anymore. It’s tough to make a habit of these small steps forward, but it is always worth the relentless effort it takes each day to make some progress. It’s the only way to combat that which is overwhelming and follow it through to the end. Thank you for this great reminder!

  2. That’s a good word right there! Thanks so much!

  3. This was perfect for me today. As my 80 year old mother starts to re-cooperate from a broken ankle on one foot, and arterial issues in the other, we will literally be moving a haba na haba. And since God is ok with that type of movement, I will be too.

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