Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Taking the First Step

Everyone starts somewhere

If you’re like me, contemplating a new endeavor can cause self-doubt and sometimes fear. However, making progress on any facet of life isn’t automatic. Whether learning a special skill, pursuing a business venture or searching for a life mate, everyone must start somewhere. Taking the first step brings us closer to the desired outcome.

I learned how to ride a bicycle outside our home in Houlton, Maine, at age seven. Dad had purchased a used bike for $5. With a brother and a friend standing close by to offer instruction and reassurance, Mom captured my “first step” in a photograph that I treasure to this day.

I can still remember the fear! The bicycle would have fit someone twice my size. Despite the excellent coaching and encouragement, until I hopped on the seat and was willing to fall, I couldn’t learn how to ride it. Decades later, I’m so glad I embraced the challenge. My lovely wife, Debbie, and I have cycled over 11,000 miles throughout America, with some life-changing adventures to show for it.

No matter the undertaking, we cannot make headway without taking a risk and delving into the unknown. For example, no one can drive an Indy racecar without some driver’s education, driving the parents’ car, or practicing atop a tractor on the family farm.

Ecclesiastes 11:4 says,

“He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap.” (NKJV)

Fear of the unknown has the power to freeze us in place – if we let it. And let’s face it: “wind and clouds” can take on any form in any situation to hold us back. Perfect circumstances will never arrive. Waiting for them merely keeps us grounded indefinitely. Had God intended circumstances to dictate our destiny, He would never have given us the urge to act in the first place. He provides the courage to step forward in faith when we answer the call.

Growing pains in life are mandatory. We learn success through failure, with its embarrassment and disappointment. Yet the price we pay pales in comparison to the rewards that await us. Receiving assistance and encouragement from others and not giving up ensure progress.

I’ve been a writer long enough to know how challenging it is to succeed at it. Yet, with enough persistence, I expect to develop more skill and make better decisions. In time, I hope to take this endeavor to higher levels than seemed possible at the outset. It’s easy to forget that God is pleased simply with my obedience, diligence and desire to help others. Forging ahead and leaving the results to Him help me pursue this new venture with more contentment and less anxiety.

Take the first step today.

Instead of allowing fear and uncertainty to slow us down, we can follow the example of the Apostle Paul:

“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:12-14 (NKJV)

Despite his difficulties in advancing the Gospel amid hostility, Paul pursued “the upward call.” He did so by anticipating a better future rather than dwelling on past failures.

Achieving a goal may eventually take on more importance than beginning to pursue it. Nevertheless, the journey itself epitomizes sweet satisfaction with life. Whatever the challenge, conquering it will elude us until we chart a course, jump on the saddle, and push the pedal. Fearing the elements – or failure itself – needn’t keep us from the adventure. A destiny worthy of our momentary discomfort beckons.

Copyright © 2017 Tim Bishop, used with permission.

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