Recently we added a new puppy to our home, and she is no small pup. She’s a nine month old English Mastiff named Bentley. She’s sweet, gentle and loveable, but she is also extremely fearful. It’s almost humorous to watch her as this giant, 120 lb. puppy is afraid to go through a door, or down a step or across a floor. Not too long ago she bravely followed me upstairs to the second floor of our house. That was all well and good except for the simple fact that she was too frightened to come down the stairs. She just couldn’t seem to figure out how to navigate the first step down.
We couldn’t allow her to live the rest of her doggy life on the second floor of the house, so I tried to gently help her down. All she wanted to do is sit there and bark at the steps. After 45 minutes of coaxing her, I finally got her to take the first step down. Once she accomplished the first step, the second wasn’t too bad. Then the next and the next and finally she was free on the first floor again!! What a relief for us all! She obviously had the ability to go down the stairs safely, she just didn’t have the courage to take that first step.
The Bentley scenario made me think how often I nestle safely in my comfort zone and resist moving forward because I just don’t know how to make the initial move. Sometimes I don’t know what to do, and sometimes out of fear of the unknown I prefer to just stay put. Instead of taking steps in a positive direction it is sometimes easier to just sit there and bark (or in human terms - whine and complain). Certainly there are times to be content where God has placed us, but there comes a time when we must step forward in faith and go where God is calling us to go.
For most of us, the first step is typically the hardest one, as well as the most significant. We hesitate to take that first step because we don’t know what is down the road. Fear of what the future holds, fear of making a mistake or fear of making our new circumstances a reality can seem to stifle us and prevent us from moving forward. Stop for a moment and consider what may be keeping you from moving in a positive direction. You may need to begin with little steps day by day, but the important thing is to not let fear get in your way.
God said to Joshua, “This is my command – be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” As we prayerfully follow God’s direction do not be afraid to take that first step. Walk in faith allowing God to increase your faith as you move forward and accomplish what He has called you to do.