Those first steps
If you have kids old enough to walk, do you remember the first steps they took? Of course you do! Oh, the memories might be fuzzy, but there is some recall there. There is some recollection of what was going on, the season, winter, fall, etc, the smells, where their first steps took place. It’s a huge milestone in the life of both the parent and the child!
All three of my girls took their first steps in our home - either in our living room or our kitchen. Ellynn took her first steps at Christmas time. Madylynn during the summer. And Jalynn took her first steps in the winter. All three are on video. All three did about the same sort of shuffle.
They’d pull themselves up with whatever was nearby. They’d stand, a little wobbly, but proudly. They’d clap their hands in pure excitement of what they’ve just discovered they can now do. There was pure joy on our faces. We were enthralled by the moment, captivated by the discovery, proud of the attempt, and achievement. No prouder parents existed!
Except you, of course! Only with you, it was your kids!
All three of my girls would stand and wobble, start to fall, and regain their balance. This would continue until gravity would overtake their overly large heads.
No, I’m not saying my kids had big heads. I’m saying ALL kids that age have big heads compared to their bodies. Don’t believe me? Look back at the pictures. Toddlers are top heavy. And called toddlers for a reason!
Gravity would begin to take over as their weight would lean forward. At that point, there was a moment where they either fell face down or their legs would move to keep upright. And in most all cases, the legs move instantly forward to keep upright. And the first step is taken.
But that first step is not alone. Remember, gravity is at work with the imbalanced weight distribution between head and body. The next leg moves forward to keep from falling. Soon three or four steps have been taken before gravity gets the best of them, and they fall down.
And we cheer! We applaud! We make goofy expressions and crazy sounds! We’re calling everyone! Text blasting people we don’t usually text! We’re celebrating!
But they fell down, right? Yep. But we still applaud, cheer, and celebrate the steps! They took steps! And they get back up and tried again!
As parents, we watched in amazement. We were so proud our kids took those first steps! We immediately posted to Facebook, Instagram, and alerted the local media, so they could send over a news team! The whole world needed to know that our child took some steps!
We are coming off a week of revival and renewal this week here at BNC.
And it’s been a week full of fresh new insights, renewal of past insights, and some things that needed a reminding of. But at the end of it all, I’m reminded of the experience of my daughters taking their first steps.
Imagine this scene with me - God is on the edge of heaven, lovingly gazing down at each of us. He notices one of his kids. They are taking some steps! God gets so excited he can’t contain himself, and he yells out to Jesus and says,
“Jesus! You’ve gotta come see this!”
“What is it?” Jesus replies.
“It’s one of ours taking some new steps!” God says, his words overflowing with pride and joy!
Jesus, his eyes welling up with tears of deep love, hollers over to some nearby angels, “You all need to see this! We’ve got someone responding in obedience! They are up on their feet and taking steps!”
And heaven celebrates.
They celebrate your steps. They celebrate my steps.
The part that chokes me up every time I think about it is that our steps are celebrated, even when we stumble. Even when we forget. Even when the fresh insight needs reminding again.
And heaven celebrates those steps.
What if that’s what it’s like? What if Jesus is there, ready to cheer you on, to encourage you to keep taking steps? What if God is there watching you, desiring you to follow through with the new insights he’s given you? What if he celebrates steps you take to apply those insights?
God loves you so much.
His desire is for you to take steps as he guides you. It’s not enough to gain insights if we don’t act on those insights. And it’s not good enough to render them as an emotional experience. It needs to be something more. It must be something more.
It must be you and me, taking steps.
So…in light of God’s love and insights he’s given, what’s your next step?
Here’s one thing I would challenge you to do today. And it’s not specific to this past week of revival. Anytime God gives you some sort of fresh insight, a new step for you to take, write it down and draw a line underneath. Making it tangible gives it handles. Then begin to brainstorm how you can work that insight into your day. The word is application. How are you going to apply it? It’s not enough to have the insight. It’s gotta be applied. If it’s not applied, it’s like a child that has walked in the past, but because they’ve fallen down, they refuse to get back up and return to crawling.
And the problem with that is the view kind of stinks down there. It’s severely limited.
But! When taking steps, when up on their feet, the possibilities become limitless. The horizon looks clearer. And the view, well there’s a clarity there that’s never been before.
I think it’s the same with us. When we’re obedient, when we respond to the steps God wants us to take, a clarity comes, a peace resides, and a love renews. And the view…well…it’s spectacular!
Take the next step!