Ten Years of Little Steps

A little step is insignificant.

A little step, taken once every day for ten years?

Less insignificant. Over time, all those little steps add up to a much longer distance.

I was baptized ten years ago today. When I look back at the days since then, I see a lot of little steps. I see a lot of days spent throwing my hands up in frustration at how little I was accomplishing, feeling like I wasn’t getting anywhere spiritually, wasn’t growing, wasn’t accomplishing anything worthwhile.

But I was. I was doing all those things; I just couldn’t see it.

I’m not who I was ten years ago—a decade ago. Are you? Is anyone? We change, we grow, but it happens imperceptibly—in the little steps, across a span of time too large for us to notice in the moment.

It’s tough. The examples we see in the Bible—the heroes of faith, the pillars of Christianity—are so easily defined by their one big moment. David and Goliath. Noah and the ark. Stephen and his defense. Daniel and the lions’ den. Esther and the Jews. Joshua and the battle of Jericho. Elijah and the Baal-worshippers. Rahab and the spies. These are the stories we remember, the illustrations we use to describe faith in action.

What we rarely see are all the little steps. We don’t read about every day Daniel spent praying and studying and wondering if he was really making any progress. We don’t see the days Joshua spent wondering what he was doing in Moses’ shoes, wondering if he’d ever really be qualified to be there. We don’t get to see the daily flak Noah caught from his neighbors for believing in something as ridiculous as rain from the sky.

We don’t see the complete and unabridged biographies of these heroic men and women, but if we could, I suspect we’d be seeing a lot of those little steps—a pile of seemingly insignificant moments that all add up to something bigger. These heroes had their big moments because of all their little steps, not in spite of them.

I think that might be the biggest lesson I’ve learned in the decade since my baptism:

The little steps matter.

The prayer. The Bible study. The meditation. The things that seem so small on their own, so unimpactful that we start to wonder if it would really matter if we skipped a day or two. Or seven.

Here’s the wonderful (and scary, and encouraging) little secret: The path to the Kingdom isn’t filled with the enormous, earth-shaking, Hebrews 11-type moments. They’re real, they happen, they’re important—but mostly, the path to the Kingdom is a lot of little steps. One foot after the other. One day after the next. It adds up. Each step makes a difference, even when it doesn’t feel like it.

The difference between one little step and one day of standing still isn’t much.

The difference between ten years of little steps and ten years of standing still is enormous.

I’m still so far from where I want to be, but I’m ten years closer than I was when I started. Ten years of little steps, each one bringing me to where I am now. How many more years are ahead of me? How much farther can I go in that time?

I can do this. So can you.

One step at a time.

Until next time,

P.S. I’m releasing The Very Best of Sabbath Thoughts (Volume II) today. It’s a free ebook (just type in $0 at the checkout) filled with 30 Sabbath Thoughts you can take with you on your phone or e-reader of choice. All those entries represent multiple years of my own little steps, and I hope you’ll find them helpful and encouraging.

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