My friend’s baby is learning to walk. She started by pulling herself up on a piece of furniture and moving down the length of it. Having the furniture for support helped her gain confidence.
Holding onto mom’s fingers was another way to walk from one spot to another. One day the time came for her to take a step without holding onto anything for support. This was risky and took a lot of coaxing. After a tentative step forward, she fell. The look of surprise on her face could have easily been followed by tears and a refusal to try again.
Instead, mom quickly scooped her up, praised the effort and stood her on wobbly legs again. Encouragement and cheers followed with every step and every fall. Before long the steps were more frequent than the falls. It won’t be long before she is ready to move from walking to running.
The same principle holds true for us. We expect to take off running when we start something new. This is unrealistic and leads to frustration and discouragement. There are times when the falls are so frequent I wonder if I should give up.
Past experience has taught me I learn best when I take baby steps and celebrate each small success. When I attempt to master new skills the support and encouragement of others can help me get back on my feet and take a few more steps forward.
This may be repeated many times before I can move quickly and confidently in this new area. When it feels like I’m not moving fast enough I remind myself that baby steps will get me farther than if I didn’t take any steps at all.
The air was warm and the sky a clear blue when my husband and I attended an outdoor concert. A crowded venue left us no choice but to stand in order to see the musicians. We didn’t mind and soon I was swaying to the beat and singing along softly with the lyrics.
After an hour I knew I needed to go for a little walk. Standing in one spot for an extended period was starting to hurt my back. If I didn’t move soon my movements would become painful. Turning to Brian, I said, “I can’t stay in one spot any more, I have to move.”
The words were barely spoken before I saw the analogy to my life. When I enjoy where I am and what I’m doing, I want to stay there. If I stay in one spot too long I get stuck and it becomes difficult, if not painful to move.
Life is not about finding a comfortable rut and settling in. It is about exploring, adventure and reaching for my dreams. None of that is possible if I am stuck in one spot.
Moving is good for my well-being. Not just for my body but also for my mind. When I think I’ve stretched as far as I can it’s time to remember the words of Paul Brandt; “Don’t tell me the sky is the limit when there are footprints on the moon.”
After a stretch of frigid cold and mounting snow, the temperature soared to above freezing. The clear blue sky and bright sunshine lured my husband and me out for a walk.
We headed to the environmental reserve a few blocks away. The paved pathway had been cleared of snow which made the walk less challenging than I’d feared. The air was crisp and clear and we were happy to be outside rather than cooped up in the house.
As we rounded a bend, a large section of the path was covered with drifting snow. This was the result of high winds during the night. The same Chinook winds that blew in the warmer temperature were responsible for obscuring the path.
Carefully I picked my way across the mounds of white. There were areas that stayed firm beneath my feet and others that gave way, causing me to sink. Nothing in the appearance of the drifts let me know which case I’d be facing.
As I navigate my way through life, I am not always sure if the path I’m walking is safe. My firm footing may suddenly give way, causing me to slip. There are other times when what looks uncertain may actually be the best route.
How do I determine which way to go? I have learned that my judgment is not always accurate. By trusting the Lord and asking him to direct me, I can have confidence my steps will be secure.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths smooth.” Proverbs 3:5-6 GWT
“I feel like I’m doing something wrong when I step on the other side of this line.” I said to my husband.
We were walking along a grassy path and the sun was hitting a tall chain link fence at just the right angle to create a duplicate fence shadow.
The line I was walking beside represented the top of the fence. Unsure which side to walk along, I was, in effect, straddling the fence!
“What a good example of life” I said. Metaphorically I sit on the fence, to keep from making decisions. I wouldn’t want to come down on the wrong side and offend anyone. It would be embarrassing to make a mistake by choosing the wrong side.
When I walked above the fence line it didn’t seem right. Unconsciously I adjusted my pace to follow the line. To do this I had to look down, to watch my steps. This meant I wasn’t looking up at what was around me.
Did it make a difference which side of this line my feet fell on? Not at all.
I was doing what I’ve always done, not veering off of the straight line before me. By watching my feet and not looking up I was trusting in my own limited knowledge and not looking up to the Lord for guidance.
The Lord has promised to instruct and teach me in the way I should go. My focus needs to be up and on him. His counsel will always direct me to the line he wants me to walk.
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. (Psalm 32:8 NIV)
The wise counsel GOD gives when I’m awake is confirmed by my sleeping heart. Day and night I’ll stick with GOD; I’ve got a good thing going and I’m not letting go. Psalm 16:7-8 (The Message)
My husband and I were walking along the beach when I reached for his arm so I could point something out to him. Since I was walking in one direction and looking in another I wasn’t paying attention to my footing.
My foot became ensnared in the fibrous strands of a sand bag that was being destroyed by the elements. This caused me to stumble. I caught myself before falling completely but still felt foolish.
Before long I was wondering how this was a mirror of my life. Do I frequently focus on something other than the direction I’m travelling in? Is this what has caused me to stumble along life’s path?
Sometimes a stumble is what I need to bring my focus back to where it needs to be. It is the complete fall that’s harder to recover from.
When I keep my focus on Jesus, the obstacles in my way won’t be a problem. He will guide me safely through them. It’s only when I look away from him that I become ensnared and stumble.
though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand. (Psalm 37:24 NIV)