Two days into the New Year, and I whined to my husband, “I have too much to DO!”
“Like what?” he reasonably asked.
“I don’t know. EVERYTHING,” I told him (let me have this dramatic moment, mister). I have big plans this year, and those big plans are looming.
It didn’t help that I spent most of the last week and a half sick and fairly inactive. New Year’s Eve I was in bed by 9 pm (oh, who am I kidding? I’m always in bed by 9 pm, even on New Year’s Eve. A night owl I am not). After all that laying around, I came into 2017 like a racehorse fresh out of the box, like Pac Man ready to gobble down all the pac-dots and level up.
In all that down time, I was able to reflect on last year and dream big for this one. I filled that new planner with goals I want to accomplish and habits I hope to keep and books to read and ponies to ask for. I even added an extra page to capture the other roles and responsibilities I know God’s put on my plate for this year (I’ll send my planner 2.0 version to subscribers soon!). I immediately found myself wanting to chase down every goal, check every box, fulfill every hope that sprang to mind as I thought about this new year. And I wanted to do it before the end of the week.
It’s good and right to look ahead and hope for bigger and better, to plan for change and set our hearts in new directions. We want to lift our eyes from the path we’re on to see the next mountain we could climb. The problem is: mountain climbing is hard. Where to even begin?
Some of us look at that mountain and think, “What was I thinking? I can’t mountain climb,” and we give up. Others, like yours truly, think, “Well, if I run, I’ll get to the top faster.” Moron. You can’t run up a mountain.
It’s no secret I’m not the best at pacing myself. This may be why so many resolutions fall by the wayside: we who are so accustomed to instant results struggle to see the mountain and know how to conquer it a little at a time. We don’t know how to do the long journey. We have seen what could be, and we want it now. We see how hard the journey will be, and we doubt our ability to endure. It’s easier to decide not to climb.
The Chinese have a saying, “千里之行，始於足下.” (Qiān lĭ zhī xíng, shĭ yú zú xià for those of you who are familiar with Mandarin, or who just want to have a slighter better chance of reading it) We know it as, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
It’s important to lift our eyes, to dream of what could be. We must keep it in mind, as we live with the reality that today, maybe I only inch toward it. Tomorrow, maybe I leap. Tomorrow, maybe I check a box, or I accomplish something big. Then the next day, maybe I rest, or I go back and do the same step again. We keep our eyes on the top while we take the next step.
This morning as I walked, I prayed about this. I was reminded that I want to hold goals and dreams and hopes that are God-honoring, that are from Him. I want to do what He has called me to do, nothing more, nothing less. So if these are the mountains He has given me to climb, He can help me climb them, one step at at time. He can guide my pace, give me grace for the days when not much happens, and strength for the days I need to push through.So I ask Him, “What step should I take today?” Do that, and it is enough. Remember: we don’t just have all year. We have our lives to keep moving in the direction He’s leading. The journey continues each day, one step at a time.