I have been thinking about how many things in my life that I've needed to take one step at a time, focusing not on the end, but the right now.
Running a marathon.
I spent months training and conditioning my mind and body to be prepared and capable of running for 26.2 miles straight, without stopping. During the training, the longest run I did (based on the training schedule I followed) was 23 miles, so when the race day came I was a bit nervous about what the added 3 miles might do to my mind as well as my lungs and muscles. I'll tell you what they did, they rocked me. My legs were jello and my brain was empty, but I assume, because of the repetition of the miles of running, my body kept going, carrying me through the finish line with a huge smile on my face.
Having a child.
Once again I spent months (9 to be exact) preparing my mind, body and house to bring a child into this world. I changed and adjusted the way I ate, exercised, slept, dressed, breathed, sang, and moved, little by little, till the day came when my baby girl began a ruckus that brought her out crying and gorgeous.
In both of these instances, there was a point towards the end, where I was physically thrashed and mentally exhausted and if someone had dropped me straight into that moment of absolute pain and weakness, then asking me if I wanted to try it, I probably would've said "NO!" But, I wasn't dropped into those moments, I started from a place that I could wrap my brain around with only enough pain or discomfort that I could handle and would challenge me enough to help me grow...to the next stage of uncomfortable challenge. There were little things, subtle at first that I adjusted to until I no longer noticed them. Then, I could handle a little bit bigger things that would once again cause me to adjust. On and on it went like this until I was able to look back and see that "Ah! I just finished a marathon!" or "Oh. My. Goodness. I just had a baby!"
Now again there are little tiny things in my life that are rubbing me, pushing me, making me just uncomfortable enough that I need to change, wrapping my mind and body around a new line of thinking and moving. I do it happily (or, I really try to do it happily) because I know if I'm diligent and stubborn and patient enough, then one day I can look back and see what great challenge it was all for.
So, if you find yourself in this moment, don't worry about the end and what it is all for, but focus on learning and adapting and growing in the now so you are ready for that end. Tuck your chin down and head into the wind, pumping your arms while your legs propel you forward.
You can do it.
"Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way."-James 1:2-4