When in Doubt, Take the Next Small Step
I was never a big fan of setting goals. To me it was a way to measure my failures. If I never reached them, it wouldn't matter because I never made them! What a surprise it was that I'd stayed in the same exact spot for so many years without moving forward an inch. Once I figured out that goals were my ticket to something, anything... everything else, they became a part of my regular routine.
My problem with goals is I would have all these grand ideas, (I never do anything small!) and then would have no idea how to accomplish them. So in my mind, I failed right out of the gate. And let's not forget the mentality I had, of needing it RIGHT NOW!! So, indeed, I was setting myself up for failure. These grand and truly wonderful plans I had, never made it off the paper because I wasn't patient enough to take the smaller steps it took to make them happen.
I have since learned that a large goal is simply made up of many, many smaller goals or steps. Sometimes we don't know how we are going to get to where we are going, but we have to get started to find out. Such is life.
"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase."
- Martin Luther King, Jr.
You may not know where you are going to end up, but you have to take that first step in order to find out. God is pretty clever that way. He let's you see the big picture (that goal of where you want to go or what you want to be or just what you want next) but He wants you to rely on Him for the smaller steps of the journey along the way. He only lights your path as far as you can see, so we are never in complete darkness, because by the time you've taken that "last" step, the next one is presented to you. It's like looking down an avenue of streetlights. Each one illuminating their own little circle, but you can only see so far ahead of you. You must start walking in the circles of light to see where the street takes you.
Imagine you're in one of those motion sensor tunnels, like in a James Bond movie. As you're walking down a completely dark and scary hallway, the sensor picks up your presence, and it lights a few more steps for you. As the light comes on and the immediate surroundings are illuminated, they are not quite as scary. We are not meant to know every single step of the journey. It is a learning process. Work ahead as far as you can and then have faith that when you get there, the next instructions will be there waiting.
It actually all happens so smoothly that you never realize you were ever in the dark at all. When you look back at all of your steps, they were placed in just the right order. You learned all the things you needed to know to get to the next step. Eventually, as you look back, your starting steps are all but a memory. That first building you came out of into the darkness, was actually your first point of light.
And when those times come that you stumble or fall, get back up, brush yourself off and take that next step. The first steps are always the scariest. I have a friend that always told me that God IS there and He WILL steer the boat, but you have to get it out to sea first. He can do nothing with it still tied to the dock. This taught me that I can't wait for things to get "just right" or sometimes all the ducks refuse to get in a row until you wrangle the first couple. But trust. Have faith. Untie the boat and make those first few strokes to get it out into open water. See all the wonderful things He can do if you let Him light your path.
Make those goals. Break them down and see how many steps you can work on until you reach the edge of the light. And then, take one more step and watch the light in the darkness stretch out before you.
Get up when you stumble. And when in doubt, just take the next small step and see what happens!
Your word is the lamp to my feet and a light for my path. Psalm 119:105
What new goals are you tackling? How have you overcome your fears to "take the next step"? What other advice can you give to those who might be stuck?