Baby Steps to Intentional Living
Posted November 9, 2021 by Sarah Green
Categories: Featured, Sarah, Sister Post
I fall, fail, and begin again over and over. I’m not afraid of the fall and fail, although that wasn’t always the case. More often as a girl and young adult it was fall, fail, and beat myself up, then quit. Start and quit was my story to the point of just not believing certain things were possible anymore. Frustration, discouragement and a loss of hope flourish in these circumstances. By the grace of God, intentional living drew my heart one baby step at a time.
Feelings of Doom
Autumn leaves crunched underfoot as I paced along the road, setting out for a new running goal. It always felt so good. It felt right, until the times I was unable to run because life just got in the way. Then doom set in. “I’m not cut out for this, I can’t keep this up,” I’d tell myself.
Whether the goal was running or early morning prayer time, I’d set large goals only to feel defeated within a week. A sense of overwhelm always set in immediately. So did the first signs of depression, which utterly terrified me. The pain and struggle of walking side by side with someone close to me who fought depression was gruelling. I must fight depression. I must not place that burden on my children. I must fight back. There must be another way. But what was the other way?
So often, the other way resorted in that vicious cycle of trying harder and harder only to fall down in shame. Sadly, this cycle leads to the very thing I didn’t want- depression. The anguish slowly racked me like a gradual descent into quicksand.
The problem is you can’t climb out of the pit by sheer will, nor can you scale a mountain in one setting. Unfortunately, I just kept trying. The hard way must be the way, I reasoned. Anything else appeared too easy or hinted at a fake change in my mind.
Yet, my desire for change and to figure it out (whatever that means) was fierce! I believe in my twenties I hit rock bottom. It wasn’t anything bad… no disastrous thing happened to me. It was just a defining moment in my life I clearly remember. My desire to be a good mom, wife and a better version of myself heightened to a point that something had to change. Problematically, change felt too difficult amidst my try and fail history. Although that’s what rock bottoms do, they force change.
I grew up in a faith-based home with parents who love God. Even though I wasn’t fully living out my faith, I completely believed in Him. I cried out to God innumerable times in my life, but this time felt different. The ins and outs of how change and intentional living takes place in one’s life are countless, I’m sure. It’s also a lifelong journey. Yet, I believe, in that life-altering moment, many little miracles occurred. My sister gave me a book I needed. Another sister was the ear that heard my plea. Someone asked me to join their running group.
It was no scaling of a mountain that taught me intentional living. It was one microscopic step at a time. Rather than big plans for change, I kept them tiny. Get up five minutes earlier in the morning rather than an hour, run for 10 minutes, read one verse. Slowly, instead of feeling like I could never stick to anything, I started to trust myself and the God who created me to put one foot in front of the other. My eventual motto of “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” (Phillipians 4:13) became my lifeline in order to accomplish things I never would have believed I could do.
For me though, it’s not about large accomplishments at all. The gift of baby steps is the beauty of daily living with intention, and on the days where I don’t live with as much intention as I’d like, I do not worry anymore; I pick myself up and know that I’m only one prayer and one baby step away from where I want to be. I show myself grace now. God always showed up and showed me His gracious grace. I was just too hard on myself. I truly can live with intention every day one baby step at a time.
Friend, do you feel stuck? I invite you to embrace a smaller way to change. I invite you to intentionally take one baby step at a time. I invite you to remember God’s gracious grace!