next steps

Is it possible that next steps don’t always look like the beginning of something new, do you have to completely quit one thing to start an entirely new project/job/phase, to be considered new? Maybe you do. Is it possible that a new-thing can look more like evolution or adaptation?

Looking into the new year is kind of like looking into the fog, and worse yet, planning for the new year is like running into the fog over an unknown terrain.  The truth is, if you begin to run into the fog in unknown territory your mind begins to race with all kinds of questions:

  • should I move slow, I don’t know the terrain and I could trip, fall, or worse yet really get injured
  • what happens if I end up lost, I won’t be able to come back
  • I could die out there…
  • maybe I shouldn’t do it at all, after all, it’s probably irresponsible

I used to tell people, “when you’re stuck at a fork in the road, and both decisions look like viable options, take the one that requires most faith and probably causes more fear…”  The older you get and the more kids you have, the more that seems like a good idea better pontificated from a place of safety – in other words, noble advice as long as I don’t have to do it – however, that maybe be the best advice.  I’ve heard others say, “take the path of least resistance and go with the flow…”  While some stick to the open-door theory, “walk through the door God is opening“.  My push back has always been, “What if 2, 3, or 5 doors are open…then what?”  While I’ve never been a fan of the “open-door theology“, I realize God does work through open doors – absolutely, but my question is, “does God ever ask you to just break a wall down where there is no door to discover  uncharted terrain?” Where’s the line that divides faith and stupidity or stewardship and fear?  Is it really living in faith if you know that you can fall back into a material safety net at any time – in less spiritual terms, if you can bail out when it gets to hard. Maybe the most faith oriented place to be is not in what is unknown, but rather in that which you can’t control…

Maybe like the Rhino, our job is not to create the terrain, but rather charge without hesitation into the fog, knowing you are headed for something, and while you can’t see it all, maybe the job of faith in life decisions is not so much jumping off a cliff into the unknown, but rather simply taking the next step that is before you, while knowing, as long as I am listening to the wind, I need not worry about the following step, for it will present itself soon enough.

So, maybe our job is to run while listening, and not so much focus on ‘making the next move happen‘ rather focus on, in the words of Alex Shootman, “living a worthy life” in the here and now.  I think some of that begins not with doing more, but rather with holistic simplicity.  To copy from my friend Chris Marlow, let me (rather him) say:

I’ve been trying to process what a healthy and holistic life looks like. I sometimes wonder if I will ever “achieve” this so-called balance.  I need to be healthy in these five areas (to read the rest of his blog, and I recommend it, click HERE): (1) Spiritual (2) Family (3) Physical (4) Community (5) Intellectual

Charles Lee, talks about the simplicity of truly being in the moment by planning for the future all the while expecting detours.  For those of us, get-it-done guys, this isn’t always the easiest, but I think it’s right.  So, if we take Marlow’s thoughts, Lee’s thoughts, and my thought about the Rhino, I think we end here:

We need to plan for next-steps; we need to allow desires filtered through scripture to awaken us; we, like the Rhino, charge into the fog based on what we hear, not so much what we see, simply taking the next step in front of us, and stop trying to create the terrain. However, we do need to steward, and steward well, the five elements that Chris lays out for us, all the while, living in the moment.


2 thoughts on “next steps

  1. Matthew, I like the thought “Maybe the most faith oriented place to be is not in what is unknown, but rather in that which you can’t control” . Somehow being out of control ought to cause us to become aware of the God moments of our life. It is amazing how much we want to play God and get His approval, perhaps there is a life lesson here.

  2. Pingback: SIMPLE « Emmaus Life

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