Have you ever found yourself looking back, amazed at how small, seemingly insignificant steps you’ve taken have brought you to where you are today? While I hope you’ve experienced the wonder and awe of God’s providence in this way, I have to admit I’ve experienced the opposite just as much, if not more. Times of confusion and doubt. Times when I wondered why I was where I was. Times when I struggled to see how the status quo would make any difference in the greater picture of my life.
How I Got From Here to There
A little over 15 years ago, out of curiosity, I picked up two massive books at a local bookstore in Springfield, Missouri. I was newly married and serving in a collegiate ministry while I finished up my final year of college. I was intrigued by the books’ topics: “Teach Yourself Web Publishing in a Week.”
During the next several months, I pored over the pages of those books and learned how to build Web sites. As time went on, and as I learned more, steps started falling into place, even though I wouldn’t recognize it for many years.
I designed our ministry’s first Web site and developed a guide to help other collegiate ministries get online as well. After graduation, while working in my first full-time ministry position, I kept up a side business of developing Web sites for churches, businesses, and non-profits. I also finished up my master’s degree via the seminary’s online learning platform—the same platform I’d helped develop.
Fast-forward seven years, and God opened the door for me to work with a Web development company in Oklahoma City, further expanding my skill set and deepening my Web design knowledge. This eventually transitioned to a move halfway across the country to work with Lifeway Christian Resources in Nashville, Tennessee, where I helped develop the online presence of Threads. My knowledge of e-mail marketing/communications and design skills deepened even further.
But, at no point could I see what was around the corner nor how what I was currently doing and learning would play a part in my future. Life is like that. Hindsight is always 20/20. We all wish we could see into the future far enough to avoid pitfalls, but we can’t. We’re forced to live life in drive, not reverse. Such a prospect can be difficult, to say the least. When you don’t know what’s coming, it’s difficult to make the right decisions. So what do we do when we’re faced with a crossroads or when we can’t imagine how our small steps are making a difference?
1. Seek Wisdom. We quickly seek advice from friends and peers, but many times they’re at the very same place we are. Sometimes that’s like asking for directions from others who are also lost. Seek advice and encouragement from friends, but also seek counsel from people who have traveled the road you’re on and successfully navigated it.
2. Trust God. In the end, our lives are combinations of small steps of faith. No matter how much we desire to know the outcomes of those steps, there’s truly only One who does. We must lean on Him when life is confusing or when we’re faced with doubt and decisions.
3. Take Risks. When we’ve sought wise counsel and are trusting in God, we shouldn’t be afraid to step out and take risks. It takes concentrated effort to step out of our comfort zones. Some of God’s biggest blessings have stood behind doors that took courage to open.
Be Excited About the Adventure
Two years ago, after what began years earlier with two books, I landed a position with a global learning development company overseeing all of their Internet properties, development, and strategy, as well as their online marketing and communications. The career decisions I made in the past culminated into a position I couldn’t see available years before. But I’m thankful God has guided me each step of the way.
These steps were for the most part small ones. But even small steps can carry large weight. Some were easy; others were difficult and time-consuming. Some steps were accomplished in the midst of where I already was, but a few required life-altering decisions. The road ahead is what makes life worth living. You may not know it now, but the small steps you’re taking are creating great opportunities ahead. As you seek wisdom, trust God, and are willing to step out and take risks, my advice is simple: Hang on and enjoy the ride! I look forward to the time when you get to look back in hindsight and see the great masterpiece God has woven out of those seemingly insignificant steps along the way.
Questions for Reflection
- What small steps are you taking today that might have a big impact down the road?
- Who are you seeking counsel from who has been where you want to be?
- After making your plans, are you trusting God for the outcome? Are you willing to change your plans if God says otherwise?
- How safe are you playing life? Are there areas where God is calling you to step out of your comfort zone?
Don’t Go It Alone
These resources have been a tremendous help to me in learning how to face decisions in my life:
- Chase the Lion: Stepping Confidently Into the Unknown by Mark Batterson
- The Principle of the Path by Andy Stanley.