Taking the first step is usually the hardest step. Whether it is the first step in a relationship, the first step in constructing that new basketball goal you just bought, the first step in recovery, or the first step up a trail to the top of a mountain. Whatever the first step is it can often be overwhelming. We have an idea of the end result that we are journeying towards but it is all the steps in between the beginning and the end that can make the journey sometimes unnerving or irritating.
God has taken me on many journeys, some of them have been difficult and wearisome and some have been touched with fun and adventure. I can look back now and see how God used each of them to teach and grow me, which I am grateful for, I just still struggle to take the first step. What if this one hurts? What if I can’t make it? What if I do something wrong? What if I fail miserably? These are the fears that bubble up within me. They paralyze and keep me from stepping into the journey God has for me. The truth is I may fall, I may mess up, I may even get hurt but I know the even greater truth is that God has promised He will never leave me (Matthew 28:20b…”I am with you always”). He is always right with me and He has His hand directing me. So I have to take my fearful thoughts captive and make them obedient to what God says (2 Corinthians 10:5…”we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,”).
Recently I took my first step on the new journey God has for me! For eight years now God has been telling me He wants me to write a book! For eight years I have let my fears keep me from taking that first step. I have let so many insecurities try to disqualify me for this task. My self talk was, “I don’t know what to write about!”, “I’m not an author”, “My grammar is terrible, I’m not an English major, I’m an Agriculture major!”, “Nobody is going to read this!”, “What if I get bad reviews!”, and too many other phrases to add to this post. Fear and being vulnerable has kept me from stepping out on the faith journey God has for me. Fear has kept me paralyzed causing me to stand on the sidelines as a critic and watch while knowing I am suppose to be walking this path God has for me!
Recently I have heard and re-read this excerpt from Theodore Roosevelt’s “Citizenship In A Republic” speech which has helped me in a way to take a deep breath and my first step.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly… who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” -Theodore Roosevelt
I didn’t want to be a critic on the sidelines anymore. God had called me to a purpose and a new adventure and I had waited long enough! I resolved that God was going to equip me and lead me to write this story He had put on my heart! As for my fears, God has reminded me of 2 Corinthians 12:9 “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” I am weak and in my own strength I am ill equipped, but by putting my trust in God, He will equip me and strengthen me to take every step required for this journey. The best feeling though has been knowing I am right where God wants me for this season! I need Him and He is right here with me.
God may have a new journey for you. It may be to start a new ministry, start a new job, move your family to a place you know nothing about, start a new friendship, write a book or walk away from what is familiar. Whatever that new journey is for you, get to steppin,’ get in the arena! You will never be satisfied just being the critic on the sideline, when God has plans that are far greater than we could ask or think (Ephesians 3:20, “Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works within us”). Don’t let your fears keep you from experiencing all that God has for you! God has His plans for you, He knows what you can really do and who He created you to be, let God empower and strengthen you to do what He is inviting you to. Take that first step and then keep putting one foot down in front of the other. Don’t fix your mind on how insurmountable this journey is, take the steps and trust that God is right there beside you!