One Step at a Time
…by Chuck Graham
Once upon a spring, on an island far, far away….I observed the repair of a boardwalk. The walkway crossed marshes and sand dunes to a beach along the Atlantic Ocean. A hurricane had ripped apart its decking and joists. Entire sections were missing, leaving support posts with no purpose.
The crew showed up sporadically, moving incredibly slow, yet except for carrying lumber, all of the repair work was done by only one man. And there was a lot of work. But it wasn’t so much what they were doing that interested me, as how they were doing it.
A boardwalk is a series of sections, each made up of decking and the joists to support it. First the repairman dismantled all of the sections, leaving only the paired vertical posts and cross-boards which had connected the sections. The old wood was tossed into the marsh.
Next he placed a plank from the cross-boards of one set of posts to the next until they stretched across the marsh. The crew walked on the shaky, unattached planks, often falling off. At the proper spot, they would jump into the marsh, retrieve the old wood, and haul it away.
Focus only on where you’re headed and you will never see how to get there.
Why did the repairman take on the entire boardwalk rather than section by section? Repairing one, then moving to the next would provide the crew a sturdy walkway to bring new wood as needed and take old wood as removed. No tossing, falling, or jumping into the marsh.
But don’t we often do the same thing? We have something that should be done but get caught up in the “big picture”. So we try to tackle everything at once, instead of breaking it down into manageable pieces. The process is slow and discouraging. And we often fall by the way.
At others times we are overwhelmed with the enormity or difficulty of what must be done. We convince ourselves, “I cannot do this!” and give little, if any, effort. We do not provide a sure path for others to come alongside and help us. And we give up.
This is true in many areas of life. The task may be huge or just difficult, something desired or required. Some paths must be repaired, while others must be built. But if we focus only on where we’re headed, we never see how to get there.
Following Jesus is about our journey with Him and each step along the way.
As followers of Jesus, we are called to encourage each other every day. And yet we don’t. So often the situations are enormous or terribly difficult. We know what we’re supposed to do but we don’t know how. We see the destination but not the way. So we leave it for someone else.
In Ciloa we teach the “how to” of encouragement. And the first rule is simple: Take everything one step at a time. Encouragement is a gradual process that combines love, commitment, and patience. Will it be huge? Maybe. Difficult? Probably. Required? Absolutely. Lonely? Never.
And we can do this. Because for us, the broken path has been repaired. The old is gone, the new has come. The way is waiting for you to follow. And all you have to do is: Take one step at a time.
Take care & be God’s,
Chuck Graham is Founder and Executive Director of Ciloa , an international ministry devoted to sharing God’s encouragement and teaching others how to “encourage one another as long as it is called Today!” He is also an author, speaker, teacher, and encourager. Chuck and his wife, Beverly, live in Lawrenceville, Georgia, USA. You can learn more about Chuck and Ciloa at www.Ciloa.org .