In the summer of 2014, less than one week after completing a Half Ironman, I was diagnosed with stage three, spreading malignant melanoma. I’m not sure I’ll ever be comfortable writing those words, but I am eternally grateful for the prognosis. By God’s grace, I am now cancer free.
After my surgery, I took eight months off from exercising. Four of those months were necessary. The other four were a by-product of my own excuses. Finally, after months of internal wrestling, I started running again.
Last week, I found myself laboring through a four-mile run, struggling to get back into shape. My once-half-ironman endurance had vanished. I was ready to quit.
As I turned a corner on my path, I found myself running directly toward the setting sun. Its brilliance was blinding. I dropped my brow down, letting the angle of my forehead shield my eyes so I could see.
In that posture, all I could see was my next step. When I tried to look back up, the sun’s rays prevented me from seeing anything. In that moment, I was given a gentle reminder:
You only need to see the next step
In a way, cancer polarized my life. I found myself paralyzed by fear or busy with constant activity.
It’s a struggle I have begun to understand in many facets of my life: in parenting, in business, in fitness, in personal relationships, and especially in my relationship with God.
Too often, we do nothing for the simple fact that we don’t know what the path looks like ahead of us. When we can’t see one, five, or ten years down the road, we end up freezing. Or, we’re constantly busy in an uncertain direction.
Have you ever felt this way?
Quite frankly, it’s debilitating.
At some point, I had to ask myself: why do I let my inability to see ten steps ahead prevent me from taking the next step?
Too often, we let our inability to predict the future control our actions in the present. The truth is, we control our future by taking certain action in the present.
This morning, during my quiet time, I was reminded of this by the Psalmist:
“Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path” – Psalm 119:105
Here’s a different way of looking at that verse.
God doesn’t promise us a spotlight into our future, He promises us a lamp for our path. In a world that shouts with banner ads and bright lights, our Heavenly Father longs for the intimacy of candlelight.
The beauty of the Gospel isn’t that God clears the forest for us, He walks with us through it.
I’m slowly learning that instead of us asking God to be a fortune-teller, maybe I should listen to His call to become a follower.
I’m learning that life is a constant journey of many next steps. While it’s important to dream, think, and plan for the future, we can’t let that become paralyzing. So today, instead of worry about the future, focus on the present.
What’s your next step?
It might be a conversation that you’ve been putting off. Maybe it’s waking up early to read your Bible. Possibly it’s going for a walk to get some exercise. Perhaps it’s typing words onto that blank page.
If you still find yourself stuck, why don’t you ask God what that next step looks like for you?
I believe He’s there, holding a candle, inviting you to go for a walk.
As part of the Redefine Rich Coaching Series, I help people uncover and take their next steps. To learn more about the coaching series, visit this link.
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About the Author
My first book, Redefine Rich, is my journey of uncovering a deeper, more fulfilling life when I chose to shift my perspective. You can order a limited hardback version of the book at www.redefinerich.com
To contact me directly, visit www.mattham.com/speaking