Limiting Belief: The road is too long.
Empowering Truth: Yes, the road is long, but I will take one step at a time and one day at a time. With a little progress every day, I will be amazed at how far I will go. (Matthew 6:33-34)
We entered lock down about one year ago at this time. It has been a long road. None of us imagined it would last this long. I had hoped that we would be back to in-person worship by Easter. Now we are approaching a second Easter, and we are still not fully back.
There are journeys and struggles that last much longer than we expect. And there are many times that we don’t know what do. We may think that the road is too long and that we will not get through. How do we respond when we are overwhelmed?
One Step Forward
Don’t try to do it all at once. You can only do one thing at a time. So what is the next best thing?
That is how we get to where we are going. It is one step at a time, one mile at a time, one day at a time. That seems so simple but if we practiced that, we could go so much further.
It can be frustrating to not see much progress. But if you make a little progress each day, you will be amazed how far you will get. Patience is the key to getting results.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matthew 6:33–34, ESV)
Jesus tells us to seek first the kingdom of God. That is a big task. But in the very next verse he says to take it one day at a time. Don’t try to do what is intended for tomorrow. Do what is intended for today. Tomorrow will get here soon enough.
Take a Step Back
Maybe you are overwhelmed because you are not headed in the right direction. Make sure the step you take forward is in the right direction. It is easy to confuse busyness with productivity. But if your busyness is not moving you towards your destination, you are always moving sideways and backwards and never getting any closer to where God would have you go.
Maybe the first step forward is not a step forward at all. Maybe the first step is a step backwards. Maybe you need to step back to look at the big picture and reassess your current trajectory.
This last year has been difficult. But one of the many benefits of COVID-19 is that many of us had to take that step back and reconsider our ways and methods. And what we have often discovered is that there are better ways forward. Our church would have never made the transition to live-streaming and online giving if it had not been for the pandemic. But taking the one step back enabled us to take two steps forward.
Don’t Step at All
Then there comes a time when the step is not to step at all. There are times when God calls us to wait. There are other times when God calls us to rest. Maybe now is not the time to make progress. You are trying to force something to happen that is not meant to happen. Maybe if you wait, the door will open later so much easier. Now is the time to be encouraged and uplifted. Instead of doing, you just need to be. We are at our best and make the most progress when we are rested and well. Maybe you are not rested now. There is a time to journey and there is a time to rest.
Another consideration is to step out. Maybe you have put a burden on yourself that you don’t need to put on yourself. Maybe you are trying to get somewhere that God would never have you go. Maybe you feel like you are obligated. Maybe you are trying to live out someone else’s dream. It may even be that you are trying to live out the dream of your former self. Today you are a different person who has a new calling to step out from your former path.
Indeed, there are times when you can’t step out. You can’t step out of the pandemic. As much as I want to take off my mask and throw caution into the wind, it would be irresponsible.
But maybe you need to step out of is making the pandemic an excuse and step into this crazy adventure of life. The pandemic has been the great scapegoat this last year. Anytime, we have needed an excuse, it has been easy to blame the pandemic for not living more fully. But there comes a time to set aside the excuses and stop blaming our circumstances.
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37, ESV)
What I mean by all this is to embrace where you are at. We might want to go back to a time before all this took place. We might want to fast-forward to a time when this is all past us. But we are where we are today, and we can only do what we can do today.