…the parched land shall become a pool, and the thirsty lands springs of water…(Isaiah 35:7)

One Step Enough For Me

Getting Started at Change

By Rex Goode


Come, Follow Me

Myfriend, Eric, who posts here, reminded me of a favorite hymn that has blessed my life and given me comfort in difficult times. The hymn is Lead, Kindly Light, written by John Henry Newman. I hope you will take the time to read Eric’s entry, “Lead Thou Me On.”The richness of this hymn is in its theme that God leads us gently, kindly along.  I learned this in my own life as I have so often found myself mired in tasks that seemed too large and too hopeless to even attempt them.  I felt the urgency to make wide and sweeping changes in order to reach a place of calm and peace. Whenever I have acted in this mode, I have failed to make the changes I need to make.

In my work as a social worker who mentors people in making changes in their lives, I have also seen it in my clients. The worst temptation of all is to think that you can leap from one point to another without taking the steps in between. Faced with a challenge that seems insurmountable, the natural inclination is to abandon it and remain the same.

As I recently told a client, small steps can result in big changes, but you have to take the first step. As we broke down a goal into small steps, those smaller steps seemed too large. So, we broke them down even smaller.

“Just do that one little thing,” I advised.

“That won’t fix it,” he answered.

“No, it won’t,” I replied, “but it will show everyone who is doubting you that you are willing to do at least that much. It will go a long way towards building the trust that you said you wanted.”

Discouragement is easy to internalize and turn into something that seems real. Most people I know who say they’re going to quit trying are proposing that they leave a problem that is killing them untouched as if ignoring it will make it better. They turn the choice into something between ultimate failure and unreachable success.

The reality is that almost all problems of great consequence will take a lifetime to face. Yet, starting by taking just one step in the right direction can drastically improve the quality of one’s life, as long as one retains hope for the far-off place.

The last two stanzas of John Henry Newman’s hymn say:

Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene—one step enough for me.

All distant scenes in life cannot be seen while we stand where we are. To see them requires us to go to them, but always one step at a time. The trick is being at peace with just the one step. Being impatient for what lies out of our sight only leads us to sit down and give up.

Cardinal John Henry Newman

Another truth that is obscured by the desire to solve everything easily and immediately is the lack of credit we give ourselves for the steps we have already taken. We see the journey as beginning today and stretching out too far ahead of us. Life’s journey began at birth and ends at death. We have come far and have a long way still to go.

What is the most important in all of this is that we do not travel the road alone. Most of us have family and friends who travel with us and are there to support us. We all have that kindly light spoken of by Father Newman, in Latter-day Saint thinking, the Spirit of God which for us represents that companionship of the Savior we each need so desperately to make all progress.

Jesus beckoned, “Come, follow me.”

He leads us along, kindly, lovingly, and helpfully towards the bright day of hope. Every step towards that day gets us closer. For today, though, let us take just one step, whatever it may be.

Think about your life. What is the next very small thing you need to do towards a better life? Don’t make it too big. All you need is one step. In your heart, let that one step be enough for you for right now. The rest of the steps will come later.

I would really like it if you would share a little in the comment section below about what you think about this, whether you did it, and what happened.

4 people like this post.

4 Responses to “One Step Enough For Me”

  1. Eric said:

    I really like this and can really identify. A small little step does lead a long way, and sometimes I have a hard time accepting the importance of taking little steps. Yet when I look back, it was taking one small step at a time that led me to where I am now.

  2. Rex Goode said:

    Me too, Eric. Thanks. Someday I might post about how moving forward is done in steps but moving backwards can be done in great leaps. 🙂

  3. Ross said:

    My next step is to quite playing video games. I know it sounds pathetically easy but it isn’t. It is the one legal escape I have left that I enjoy. God asked me to drop them years ago. I did for a time and nearly all areas of my life got better. I slowly slipped back to gaming and viola, I’m back in hell again. Not sleeping, grouchy, irritable, selfish, not studying like I should be.

  4. Rex Goode said:

    Thanks for sharing that, Ross. I know that it is hard. I need to do that too. Usually, I’m OK, but there is one that I have on my computer that can suck up a ton of time, time I can’t afford to waste, but I waste it anyway. For me, the next step is to delete it from my laptop. I deleted it from my desktop, and now when I work on my desktop, I get right down to business. Not so when I am on my laptop. I tell myself I am going to play it just once and then a couple of hours later, I come to my senses.

    So, is there a small step you could take than “stop altogether?”

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