I have learned some valuable lessons through my hikes and outdoor “expeditions.” Most of the time I’m just enjoying creation around me, doing anything to ignore the blister on my heel or thinking about what kind of campfire meal will be going down that night, but occasionally I have a few thoughts. One of these thoughts tend to show up during a long run or tedious hike when I’m just ready to quit and it tends to come out verbally, just above a whispering groan as:
“one foot in front of the other.”
No one summits mountains in leaps and bounds. Climbers who attempt Mt. Everest spend as much time descending the mountain to adjust to the altitude than they do ascending to cover ground. In no way can they rush their repetitive journey or else they are guaranteed serious side effects. Even if we could take leaps and bounds, would we want to and miss the journey just to get to our destination? We might not appreciate every step along the path, but the only options are to turn around or keep going. Both of them require a step-by-step journey and downhill can be just as strenuous as uphill. Sometimes we become too consumed by the end goal that we want to rush through the path, missing the beautiful lake or sunset. If we continue on our journey, before we know it, we are looking back down the mountain from the summit to see the journey that we took one step at a time. Isn’t that how we are suppose to live?
Day by day.
Step by step.
Not rushing through any moments.
We can respond in faith and risk failure along our journey for we know that our security is in Christ and we will fall into His grace. We don’t have to be thrilled walking through the blisters and crossing the risky streams of life, but they are a part of the journey that God has placed us on and we are to bring Him glory in everything. There are stages of doubt, anxiety, straight up “not knowing,” anticipation, waiting and complete failure. There might be stage in a relationship you have with someone (significant other, sibling, friend or parent) that you are experiencing that you wish would pass. I am currently in a “I have no clue”/waiting/restless stage and I praise God that He is directing my steps. Some days I don’t even know what it looks like to bring Him glory in my situation but my faith grows in Him as I offer jumbled prayers and seek peace. I do know that, by te grace of God, I do not need to know the full picture of my situation/life/experience. I have the full picture of the Gospel and that is enough to get me through one step at a time.
Unfortunately my “one foot in front of the other” mindset tends to only come when I am experiencing less-than-ideal situations. I forget that even the perfectly fine, routine, normal days/stages should be taken by steps. So often, during times of just plain goodness, I find myself focusing on the future steps that lead to a more exciting time of life. It’s fine to get excited about things to come, but don’t let it take away from your focus on the here and now. Christ came so that we live life and live it abundantly! (John 10:10) Wishing for days or weeks or stages of relationships to end is not living abundantly. We all force situations or manipulate things to be “my way” and that is not living abundantly. That is living for our own glory and that is not why Christ came. Seize every moment, all of them as the insividual gifts that they are. Don’t seize them as an hour, a day, a timeline, or a book. Seize minute-by-minute, conversation-by-conversation, page-by-page. The dark, the painfully normal, the exciting, and the uncertain ones should all be fully lived. Live abundantly and glorify God through it all with your cries of thankfulness and anguish as you acknowledge the power of His grace and how hopeless you would be without Him.
Psalm 37:23 says “The STEPS of a man are established by the LORD, when he delights in His way, though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong for the LORD upholds his hand.”