Small Steps - Are they Really?

~~ Romans 5:3-5 ~~ Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

Spread Eagle, Newfoundland, Canada. Photo property of Carla Cooper and / or Worship Melodies. All copyrights claimed
Photo by Carley (Spread Eagle, Newfoundland, Canada)

There is an old Chinese proverb that says ‘a journey of a thousand miles begins with one small step’.  When was the last time you took a trip?  Was it a trip that you were looking forward to for quite some time, or a last minute decision?  The plans for your journey may have all fallen together in a half hour, or they could have taken months to put together.  Either way it was a planned trip!  Almost everything in life has some type of plan before it can happen. 

Part of my journey has taken me through weight loss.  This is hardly unique these days.  It is a big problem, no pun intended; yet at the same time, when you look at it; it's all common sense!  You put healthy stuff in; you’re going to get healthy stuff coming back!  As part of the program that I used, I have been well educated on the importance of setting small goals.  It teaches us that we are not initially out to lose 50 lbs, or 100 lbs or more.  In fact, we are out to lose 10, or maybe even 5!  Then, and only then, when that's gone; we are set out to lose another 5 or 10 and so on!  We are well taught that small steps are important; and so is not 'biting off more than you can chew', being patient, not giving up when you have set backs (which you will), and rewarding yourself at each goal achieved.  Working hard and relentlessly continuing to push forward and you will get results! 

Motivation is the key, and if you are lacking in that, then nothing works better than prayer, asking God to give you that motivation.  You need to have a vision in mind of the goal that you want to achieve!  Whatever your circumstances for being overweight, be sure it is there for a reason.  When you find a goal that is truly more important than your reasons for being overweight, then you will have the motivation you need to lose the unwanted pounds.  If you are not progressing, than what you think is more important is not really.  If it were than you would be succeeding.  So if you are trying to lose weight because you ‘want to be alive for your family’, but you are not making much progress in your weight loss, than you really have to do some deep soul searching, or get counselling, to find out ‘why not?’.  Weight loss is all about the psychological issues more than the physical.   Overall, it is a small percentage of people who are overweight for medical reasons over psychological reasons.  If there is anything about your reasons for being there or your lack of motivation that you do not understand you need to pray about it; and get counselling if necessary!

These important lessons about weight loss, I have found can be applied to other areas of my life as well.  I am learning so much about how to be a strong, capable, independent person.  This weight-loss program has changed me in more ways than just the physical.

Christmas 1992 I was in a major auto accident that changed my life.  I was the passenger in a car with my (then) fiancĂ© on an icy highway in central Ontario.  It was Boxing Day (in Canada that is December 26th, the day after Christmas).  We were on our way north to visit his family for the remainder of the holiday season.  It is a trip that typically took us 3 hours.  On this particular day we were about half way there when we drove around a large turn in the road, and suddenly we in the midst of a 6 car pile-up.  They had to use the jaws-of-life to cut us out.  The rescue team told us that we were extremely lucky for many reasons, but one reason being that our car was a rag-top convertible.  Though our car was totalled, it was strong enough to protect us from being crushed.  If it was not for the grace of God and that well built vehicle I would not be sitting here typing this to you right now.  In the emergency room later that evening, my fiancĂ© said to me “Now you know why that road is called The Highway to Heaven”.  I said to him “Oh great, so now you tell me!”.

My life changed in so many ways that day. I could, literally, write a book on the spin-off that affects my life to this day.  For months after I was almost completely bedridden.  I was able to get up and about but it would take quite a while and I needed help to do so.  Getting to the bathroom alone or putting my clothes on without help was impossible for weeks after the accident.  It took a long time for me to recover.  I remember the day that I finally went to the bathroom alone.  Then I came out and walked toward my bed, sat down on the edge and put my own clothes on… by myself!  It took me quite some time to achieve all this… but I did it!  Just me, with no help from anyone!  I truly and honestly felt like I could conquer the world.  I sat there alone, crying with joy and said out loud “look out world. I am back and there’s no stopping me now”.  I called everyone I could think of to tell them how excited I was.  I got responses that raged from “Yea, Ok… good for you” with a tone of “so what?” to “Yea OK… good for you” with a tone of “I’m so proud of you and so happy for you”; to a sarcastic “some of us have been doing that for quite some time now”.  Yea, I know there’s always the comedian in the bunch, especially in my family!

My point is that it was a small thing in my life, yet it was not!  It was huge because it got me one more step further along!  Just like each pound lost on my weight-loss journey,  it is a big deal!  There are no small achievements.  Each step is important to changing the whole you and to getting yourself closer to your destination!  Weight loss is not just about changing your body shape, your weight, or your clothing size.  It’s about changing who you are on the inside.  There is only one right way to change you and it has to be done in 3 parts; body, mind, and spirit!  If you do not complete all 3 parts, or if you do a flimsy job on anyone of the 3, than the whole package will not be complete or have strength.  You need to set your goals.  You need to know the steps to achieve them, and the route you need to take to get there!  If you do not know some of this information than you need to reach out to someone who can guide you in the right steps.  That is what I did, and continue to do, each time I reached a road block or a fork in the road.  Learning to reach out was a road block in itself for me.  I have finally learned that reaching out to others is not a weakness and it does not mean that I am not smart enough.  My support system is vital to my progress; which in itself was also a step to be achieved; something I had to build. 

We could have gone a different route for that trip north on Boxing Day 1992, but we did not because it would take an extra hour.  Being a snowy Ontario winter day we did not want to be driving any longer than necessary.  But, guess what?  For an extra hour, my whole life would, likely, have turned out completely different!  My lessons were these: Know what you want, do not be afraid of hard work, or how much time it takes to get there; and never, ever pay attention to the negative people that will try to make you feel bad, tell you lies or hold you back.  

Recently there was something that made me feel like I just passed an important mile marker.  It was a small step, yet a big turn in the road for me.  I have a friend that has blessed me more than I deserve to get from one person.  However, he has also hurt me more times than I can count.  No matter how many times people let you down, it never gets easier.  I have shed way more tears over one person than he should ever have gotten from me.  Letting go of this weight, I have come to see in the midst of my tears, is vital if I am to continue.  It can only be done through forgiveness... of myself as much as him.  I have come to realize that I have to let go of a very big weight that is keeping me anchored in the past.  Life goes on and I will survive and be OK because God never leaves me, even for an instant!  Despite the hurt, my friend will forever be in my heart, and will forever be a vital person in the progress of my journey thus far.  He was a stop along the way where I have gathered some important things to take with me.  Things like perseverance, character, hope, faith, forgiveness, determination, and strength.  I have also unloaded some unwanted things.  Items such as anger, hatred, fear, shame, hurt, hopelessness, and guilt. 

So, my goals for the next day or two… is to get through my next dentist appointment, to get the mountain of laundry done that has piled up, and to spend extra quiet time with God as to recover from the last big pothole that got in the way.  Look out world, here I come!  It’s all a matter of perspective; which in itself, for me, was something else I had to learn along the way.  Who is to say what is truly a small step, or what is a big one when each step in the right direction will get you closer to God?  For directions you will not need a map.  All you will need is your Bible.  I will continue to keep my focus looking ahead to God because I never know when just around the next bend God will have my greatest blessings waiting for me.

~~Dear God~~ I pray that You will never let me leave the path that You have laid out for me.  Let each and every step be taken forward, toward You.  Do not let any road block, pot hole, or pit stop be wasted.  Use each and every one to bring blessings to me and glory to Your name.  I thank You, Father, for this wonderful journey that You have chosen for me no matter how difficult it is for me.  In Jesus name, AMEN.

1 comment :

  1. AnonymousJune 13, 2011

    Carley - thank you for your honesty and willingness to share your faith journey. I know you will bless many with your words. Deb Maure