The image was quite striking. The concrete steps had what looked like a supporting frame on either side. Other than that, there was nothing attached to join these side pillars to anything else. The stairs were on an angle, tipped backwards into the sand. Abandoned.
I wondered what this scene had once looked like. Were these steps that led out to a world of adventure and later back to the safety and comfort of home? Did they watch children go over them to play on the beach? Maybe they welcomed guests to an outdoor patio gathering. There are many stories I could tell myself about what they had been. I have no way of knowing the real story.
Now they were a sad sight. They led to nowhere.
I could go over them and around them and still be basically in the same place. My steps would be wasted as they would lead nowhere.
This was a visual reminder of what can happen to me if I’m not careful. Without clear direction, my dreams of what life can look like remain only dreams. The plans I have for my life will not be fulfilled.
I think of times I’ve been disappointed when what I had worked towards did not bring about the results I’d hoped for. Sometimes I’ve abandoned my dreams the same way these stairs on the beach had been abandoned.
There is a better way. My direction needs to come from the Lord. I can make all of the plans I want but until I trust the Lord to determine my steps, they may be getting me nowhere.
We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps. (Proverbs 16:9 NLT)
Recently I was given a gift of appreciation from three women I’d been encouraging and affirming over a period of months.
As they hugged me and thanked me for loving them through some tough times, I was deeply touched. To hear my small involvement in their lives had made a difference was a gift of monumental proportions for me.
Over the years I’ve heard the saying, “Giving is receiving.” The fulfillment I felt was the perfect example of this. I used to think that to make a difference I must do something big, something noteworthy. In actual fact, sometimes all I need to do is to show up. Everyone’s time is valuable and giving it to others shows we care.
The women I mentioned didn’t need to do anything else to show their appreciation. I was surprised when they also handed me a gift bag. It contained a lovely journal and a pen with the inscription Make Your Dreams Happen. On the front of the journal were the words, The Journey is the Destination. Both sentiments were inspiring.
Although the relationship was about me supporting them, these women had taken the time to find out what was important to me. They knew I was a writer and had thoughtfully chosen a gift to show they cared about my dreams and goals. They even included chocolate!
The blank pages of a new journal remind me of the blank pages of a new year. As the calendar turns to a fresh year, there are new adventures to fill up its pages. Each day is a gift and it is up to me to use it wisely. I chose to put the pen in God’s hands and let him write my story.
“What the New Year brings to you will depend a great deal on what you bring to the New Year.” – Vern McLellan