I’m in a “what’s next?” season of life. If you’ve followed my blog, you know that my husband recently left the field of law enforcement after 18 years (16 as a sworn officer). Looking back, I have a new understanding for how all-encompassing and intrusive his police occupation was. It dictated everything in our lives – from the big decisions to the small. For 18 years, I tailored my schedule to meet the demands of my husband’s job, the responsibility of raising three boys, and the management of my training business. Finally able to catch my breath after this big transition, I’m getting around to me.
Where are you today? Are you transitioning to an empty nest, either with young adult children moving out, or with your youngest child heading off to kindergarten? Perhaps you are facing a transition with your job, or you are relocating your family.
In terms of fitness: with winter coming, you might have finished your last race or other event/competition of the season. Maybe you finished an exercise program and are looking for new goals. Or, perhaps you are hoping to get into a regular exercise pattern, get fit, or lose weight. What’s next for you?
Fall is my favorite season for walking and observing nature. I was recently on a walk one crisp, cold morning—the fallen leaves crunching under every step. As I passed a tree that had already lost most of its leaves, I noticed that there were also walnuts (about ping-pong ball-sized) everywhere. The ground leaves were so thick in some spots that they camouflaged the walnuts. I was looking ahead while walking (instead of down at my feet) and stepped on the walnuts, rolling my ankle. In order to make it through that area while avoiding injury, I decided to look down as I stepped.
In that moment, I realized that this experience mirrored my tendency to get antsy in the “what’s next” moments. I want so badly to project too far down the road, for God to show me the bigger vision of what He is doing in my life. But in reality, He is only revealing the steps right in front of me…and I had better pay attention, because there might be things that trip me up or throw me off of my path. I need to shift my gaze from the “horizon,” to what is directly in front of me. With each faithful step, He will show me what’s next…and next…and next…in doses that I can handle.
With fitness, we can get caught up in the final outcome and forget about all of the steps that it takes to get there. Yes, goals are important, but set those goals with your steps in mind because they are just as important as the end result. Some things to consider: How much time each day will you need in order to commit? What preparation do you need before starting? How can you anticipate and plan for things that might trip you up –like holidays or work travel, for instance? Will you need to enlist support/accountability from others? What is your body telling you (i.e., do you need more flexibility, or balance, or do you need to modify due to a nagging injury)? If you’re wanting to increase strength or get better at running, do you have those activities scheduled at least 3 times per week, balanced with plenty of restorative activities on the other days to promote muscle recovery? Many successful exercise plans contain a sequence of phases that build upon the previous phase, providing a natural progression toward the end goal. By focusing on each step of your plan, you will be less overwhelmed by the end goal as you move toward it. Success is more likely, too.
In a broader context, if you are experiencing a major “what’s next” season in your life, I want to encourage you to stop trying to focus on where you’re going to end up –you could miss the crucial steps right in front of you. Look for your very next step and trust God to show it to you. He never fails to show us what needs to be seen, with just the right timing.
Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (Psalm 119:105)