One Step Back, Two Steps Forward

I’m dedicating this post to my sister and friend, K – sis, there are not enough words to say thank you for allowing God to bring you into my life! Every time we talk or spend time I always leave ready to continue serving again. Love you! ❤

“Everything happens for a reason but you don’t know what you don’t know,
And you’ll never have peace if you don’t let go of tomorrow.
‘Cause it ain’t even faith till your plan falls apart but you still choose to follow,
If it doesn’t make sense right now, it will when it’s over” – Tauren Wells, Joy in the Morning

I remember hearing this statement many times before, and it was often paired with “when your back is against the wall” – referring to being cornered with little to no way of escape.

In this season, I look back and realize that stepping back from ministry in the church meant healing a small part of the church from the contribution God had called me to make. What I’m saying is that each of us has a place and purpose in a community (be it church, work, family, our friend circles, etc). We are all called to be a part of something, and as LifeisaBeaut’s tagline says, “Created with purpose, called to love”. So in advance, thanks for stopping by and allowing God to speak through me to you ❤ . I pray that this post may bless you to be a blessing to someone.

"All of you together are Christ's body, and each one of you is a separate and necessary part of it." - 1 Corinthians 12:27 (NLT)

For years I’d been dedicated and open to pouring out through campus ministry, youth/young adult ministry, to the point where I truly had nothing left to give. As cheesy as it sounds, one of my deepest desires in life is to share a little bit of love to the people I meet; be you a stranger, acquaintance, best friend or family. I grew up in church and was never “forced” to stay in church, but there were values that were instilled in me when I was young – I praise God for my parents, friends, and mentors who surrounded me in prayer when I was at my lowest. I thank God for drawing me near when I wanted to “leave” church because it just “wasn’t doing it for me.”

When you feel the need to take one step back, do it. You’ll feel a little guilty at first (trust me, I’m the biggest suck for feeling guilty for taking breaks/taking a breather) because you feel accountable and responsible to whatever it is you have to do. But do it. How will you be of service to people who you are serving, if you, yourself aren’t being served?

Here are 3 ways you can be more accepting of taking one step back so you can take two steps forward in time:

Identify the need to take that step back.

When we get sick, we need time to recover. It’s the same way when we’re no longer able to serve or do a job we’re called to do. We need a break, we need time to heal, we need to chill out and take care of ourselves. If you find yourself feeling depleted, no longer enjoying things and activities you used to enjoy, or slowly isolating yourself, Beaut it might be time to take that step back. It’s ok, you can do it. You’ll recover in time, trust me.

Take the step back for others’ sake, not yours.

Sometimes taking the step back can be a means of a season to mature, reflect, and recalibrate. I like baking, and one thing I’ve learned through the years with baking cookies specifically, is leaving the dough in the fridge for a few hours or overnight. This allows the dough to be more concentrated and the flour becomes more hydrated, allowing for an evenly-baked, delectable cookie! (sorry, am I making your hungry? haha jk). If I wanted to bake the cookie right after mixing the dough, I would still have cookies, but the quality wouldn’t be as decadent than if I were to allow the dough to hydrate. What I’m saying is, taking the step back puts you in a place and space where you can absorb aspects of your life and see doors of opportunity open when you weren’t able to see them before. When you’re pre-occupied with giving, pouring out, and serving others, that saying goes — it’s hard to see the forest for the trees. What good are you to others if you’re no good?

Nourish yourself with the mindset of “I will take steps forward when I’m ready”.

Taking the one step back doesn’t mean you’ll stay in that back step indefinitely. At least, I hope you don’t choose to stay back there. Rick Warren says it like this, “We are healed to help others. We are blessed to be a blessing. We are saved to serve, not to sit around…” Once you’ve identified that you need to take that step back and it’s not just for you but for the people around you – there’s work to do. Not for others, but for your own sake. Nourish yourself with healthy food, feed your mind with wholesome things, read about something you’ve been interested in, consider meeting up with people you haven’t see in a while, take everything in and ask yourself, “what am I learning through this step I’m taking back?” – this isn’t a time to sit back and relax; it’s a time to take action and fill up again. In time, you’ll know when it’s time to give to others again. Trust me, you’ll be ok.

Well Beaut, there you have it. I pray this post fills your soul somehow and nudges you to be ok with taking a step back and fill up. Remember, you were created with purpose and called to love. When you forget that, go back to the last place and space that you know you were ok and connect the dots. Be like the Sea of Galilee, full of life, taking in water, not like the Dead Sea. God will speak, I know He will. He speaks in the silence, too.

"For everything there is a season... a time to keep silence, and a time to speak." - Ecclesiastes 3:1, 7b (ESV)

Rooting for you Beaut. ❤

— Ashley

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