Biking to work this week revealed more insights for moving ahead.
My path to our new work office stretches over a variety of sections of roadway. I travel through a quiet residential area to a busy road, a roundabout, another street without a bike lane, a private, peaceful gravel road and finally a long highway with a wide biking path.
It was on that last stretch that I had an “ah-ha” moment.
At every quarter mile, written in spray paint on the asphalt path, were fractions marking off the measurements. I assume the mile markers were created by a surveyor.
And was I ever grateful.
Because when I rode over the first one, I felt a glimmer or hope. I had ridden a quarter of a mile on that long stretch of highway. I looked up, but the scenery held only trees–no hint of the buildings that would promise my destination.
But before I knew it, I’d passed the next marker.
Half a mile, then three quarters of a mile and finally a mile and a quarter. I kept my focus on the road just ahead and with each marker, encouragement grew in me and so did a sense of accomplishment.
The next time I looked up, I saw my office building in the distance.
It amazed me how much shorter that ride seemed when I looked at small increments of progress rather than keeping my focus in the distance hoping for a glimpse of my future goal.
Isn’t life like that?
I believe God gives us a vision for what he has planned for us. I believe he has good things he created for us and created us for. And he gives us a sense of what those plans are. Maybe a desire in our heart or a passion for a vocation, helping a group of people or creating a solution to a problem.
But in my experience, those plans rarely happen within my time frame.
More often, I end up in what seems like a detour in my life. Writing books has taken years. Speaking to groups has been sporadic. My financial business is on hold. I was forty-seven when I finally met my husband, the man my heart adores. And now it is taking far longer than I ever imagined to work out some issues in our marriage.
Taking my life forward has starts, stops and twisting roads.
Sometimes I wonder if I’ve heard God clearly. Or maybe I made a wrong turn and it’s taking longer because God is trying to get me back to where I took a path I thought was the only way to go.
Or maybe he’s developing me for the plans he has.
But what this week taught me, is that while it’s good to keep looking up and making sure I’m heading in the right direction to the vision or goal, I’ll make better progress if I’m focusing on what is right in front of me. One step at a time, one day at a time, one quarter of a mile at a time.
It’s the eating an elephant thing.
Tackling a five mile ride (okay, so I’m a little wimpy you pro-cyclists) happens each day in sections. When I get through one, I can focus on the next one. As I pass each marker, I’m that much closer to my destination.
Life is a journey.
Each plan or vision God has for us is tackled daily or sometimes hourly. Whether it’s a career choice, a relationship, or overcoming an addiction, each small step adds up to making it to our goal. And along the way, we’re being equipped to handle the challenges of that future vision.
Just like my wimpy muscles are getting stronger each day. Eventually five miles will seem like a ride around the block.
At least I hope so!
What’s a vision, goal or destination you feel is taking longer than you hoped? What can you focus on that will make the journey more hopeful and enjoyable? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org