Do you have a fitbit? One of those little devices that count how many steps you’ve taken and what you need to make your optimal steps for the day? Or how much you’ve slept and ate and who you should marry? I don’t have one. We did have a “pre-fitbit” step counter once… I think we got it out of a cereal box. You clipped it to your pant leg and you could trick it into adding steps by swinging your leg or frantically waving your arms. It obviously didn’t fulfill its purpose very well.
Funny how we focus on “steps”. Moving forward, moving back, constantly checking where you are and where you should be going. Now, I am a girl who likes to plan. I like to check off my steps and put the x in the boxes. I follow the list and love instructions with bullet points and numbers. I follow the steps. But what if you come to the fork in the road? The edge of the cliff, and you are unsure of your next step? What happens then?
Perhaps it is a big decision. Perhaps a life goal. Perhaps a next stage in life. How do you feel when you are tip-toe with that edge and your next step will determine whether you soar or fall off the cliff? What happens then? The fitbit doesn’t tell you what to do with your steps, it just shows you how many you have taken. You have to set the goal.
We studied John the Baptist at church this week, and I couldn’t help but compare his ministry to a few people I follow on social media. There were “big announcements” posted and “new projects” to be taken on, and I noticed that life seems to be timeless when it comes to the edge-of-the-cliff decisions. Everyone eventually comes to that point where you have to take the next step. Sometimes you celebrate it, sometimes you mourn it, and sometimes it just quietly moves forward.
If you are diligent, you make informed decisions… you pray, study, ask the experts, debate, consult, read… and then? John chose to end his career of “preparing the way” because the Messiah had showed up! He worked himself out of his job. Some people set the stage ahead of time and contract themselves into a plan or timeframe. Then the time ends and you stop. Some of you are vision castors — entrepreneurial types who love the prospect of something new — and your life just becomes an ebb and flow of projects and plans. Some of us peddle backwards, afraid of the unknown and where the path may lead.
I’m learning to be patient. To plant my steps purposefully. But the journey is hard and the path rocky. My footing is not always secure and I seek answers. What now? Which way? Should I wait here while others catch up, or plunge ahead and take the risk of not knowing the path? A wise person once told me: Just take the next step.