Just the Next Step

We spent our Spring Break in Saint George, Utah, with family and revisiting favorite places from when we lived there a few years ago. While we drove there we had fun listing the places we wanted to return to: our favorite Chinese restaurant, Fizz (a soda shop – a popular thing in Utah!), a park near our old house, and a hike in Snow Canyon.

Our hike at Snow Canyon was one of my favorites. We chose the White Rocks Amphitheatre one, because of the fun it was scrambling over rocks and the amazing view it provided of the whole state park. The trail swings to the right, and you climb up the rocks from the right side.

It’s pretty easy to weave your way upward, finding a ridge to follow and a next step to take. It’s quite a climb, but oh, is it rewarding! Richard and the girls climbed all the way to the top peak.

This vantage point affords a view of the whole Snow Canyon state park, with it’s rocks that turn from red sandstone, to black lava, and then these white rocks. The view is impressive!

But then there is the point when you decide to go down. Aubrey and I decided to see if we could make it down the other side (in the photos, the left side). We could see our car in the distance, and it seemed like it would be shorter and easier. Richard and Ellie returned the way we’d come.

Aubrey and I started downward. We weaved right and left, navigating rocks and drop-offs, as well as occasional cactuses. We nearly slid down a five foot incline. We scanned the best way forward.

And then, with a panicky feeling, a realization set in. (At least for me, since Aubrey is very calm and level-headed!) We couldn’t see the way to go coming downward nearly so well as when we climbed upward! And we weren’t sure if we’d reach an impassable point.

We had better perspective going upward, but were nearly blind going downward. When we were going up and there’s a drop-off or spot we can’t navigate, we could see it and spot an easier way to go. But coming downward, we could only see what the rocks were like nearby and were blind to drop-offs.

Was it really possible to go down this way?

We returned to the top of the White Rocks, then needed to navigate back down the other side. This proved harder to do than I remembered the last time we were there!

Rather than go too far and find we couldn’t, we returned the way we came. I will confess, Aubrey was much better than I was at remembering exactly how we came down, so we could retrace our steps. She was also calm, while I confess that a panicky feeling arose inside me. And, we had the six foot drop we nearly slid down to get back up! My hiking shoes helped me get up it, which allowed me to give Aubrey a hand in the most difficult spot.

Slowly, we wove our way back down. Still, we couldn’t tell exactly which way to get down. We had to weave our way further this way or that. And finally, we made it to the bottom! Whew!

As we walked to the car, we talked about what we learned.

  1. Know when to turn back.
  2. Go with a buddy.
  3. Know when to ask others for wise perspective.
  4. And our favorite, take one step at a time!

Know when to turn back.

It’s good to be curious, do something new, take some risks. But this only works when we have a humble heart, and are willing to be teachable and know our limits!

Go with a buddy.

Aubrey’s calmness, confidence, and clear memory were a great encouragement to me as we made our journey back. And she needed my hand when we got to the hardest spot on the journey.

We need travel companions on this life journey! God created us to journey not only with Jesus, but with people who can show His love for us. We’re created to mutually receive from each other, to partner with each other, and share the journey.

Ask for wise perspective.

Could Aubrey and I have made it down the other side? Once we were down, we looked at it from a distance and talked about it. I’ve zoomed in on this picture and thought about it.

I’m pretty sure we could have. But I am confident we couldn’t by ourselves! Richard would have had to stand near the bottom and directed us from his vantage point. The trial and error of doing it on our own would have been nearly impossible.

Take one step at a time!

These past months have included a lot of change for our family, with many moments of needing to simply take the next step.

When we moved to Nebraska, we left a period of unemployment for my husband as we moved to his new career as a chaplain at a hospital. He works nights, which is new to both of us. There’s the new school for the girls, church, and community. And I’ve begun working part-time at the Starbucks inside our nearby Target.

Many days, I’ve just had to focus on the next steps to take. Unpack one more box, research dentists in our insurance plan, find the UPS Store, visit another church, make dinner one more time.

It’s been quite a path to navigate, and I’ve many days I’ve had to simply focus on the next step.

One more step.

One more step.

Don’t get overwhelmed by the whole journey at once.

And very often, God gives us one step at a time, instead of showing us everything that is ahead.

He is with us in the step we’re taking right now. His Holy Spirit indwells us, and Jesus promises to be with us always.

But only for THIS moment. Not future ones we haven’t reached and can’t be sure of reaching.

What is your next step?

Each step really matters when you’re going down at a steep incline! And your next step matters too.

Where is life’s journey taking you?

Do one of Aubrey’s and my four points stand out to you?

No matter where you are, take courage and prayerfully take the next step. From His vantage point, God sees your whole story and He’ll guide your next step.

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