Take the Next Step

Norm Tour de Cure Ride

Norman – Tour de Cure Ride/American Diabetes Assoc.

Philippians 3:12 – “But I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.” (Full passage: Philippians 3:12-16)

When I first met my husband, Norman, he was a runner. He loved running in the early morning hours while most of the city slept. But then, he underwent spinal cord surgery and needed to find another way to stay fit, so he started biking.

Learning the new sport tried his patience. When he first started, he still rode in the mornings, but he only covered a short distance. It didn’t take him a long time to develop his legs and stamina. He started riding to the beach. He began to challenge himself, striving for a quicker time. He set a personal goal to improve his ride each week.

Today, it’s easy for him to ride fifty or sixty miles. He rides in marathons and charity events. I admire that about him.

Our son, who inherited Norman’s love of fitness, was not a natural runner. Norman shared pointers on breathing, form, and technique. Finally, our son improved his run time because he refused to give up.

He told me, “When Dad said I needed to focus on one step at a time, I felt set free.” He said that he stopped worrying about completing the mile, or the time it would take. When he began to think about the next step, he was able to let go of the step he’d just taken and concentrate on the step in front of him.

His insight made me reflect on living with chronic pain and illness. Some days, there’s a mental struggle to get up and face another day of limitations. On the extremely difficult days, I’ve learned to shift my focus to God (Philippians 4:6-7). When I do, I find it easier to complete my work by handling one task at a time (II Corinthians 12:9; Philippians 4:13). Instead of becoming overwhelmed by sadness, fear, and frustration, my concentration is fixed on the next step. I am more likely to have joy and peace in my heart after I have finished a job, even if it is the smallest item on my to-do-list.

Sooner or later, all of us will face a challenge (John 16:33; James 1:2-4; I Peter 4:12). Maybe you are in the midst of a difficult situation right now or coming out of a trial you weren’t sure you would survive. Maybe you are like a lot of us and fear that a faith-testing problem is on the horizon. The only certainty we have is that life often throws the unexpected our way.

We have to remind ourselves not to quit, cave in, or give up, but to take the next step, to press forward and keep going, because we know that God will help us and see us through (Psalm 34:19; Hebrews 13:5-6).

I pray that you will stay encouraged. Keep your eyes on the Lord and take that next step, no matter how difficult the path seems. God has promised to take care of you and He will never fail you (Joshua 1:5,9).

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