The Next 3 Feet

There’s a lot going on. I’ve been reeling from the messy/busyness of life lately.

I found myself making mental notes and trying to figure out a plan of action for the next few months. The only problem was it happened at 3:00am in the morning.

Finally after tossing and turning for awhile, I got up and jotted my thoughts down on a piece of paper. I managed to get about 4 hours of sleep…maybe 3, who knows? It was a rough night.

At 6am sitting in my quiet home, I realized I was not just trying to set goals and put everything in order during those wakeful hours. It was more like mulling over the what, where, when, ifs and everything that could happen and how I would handle it all. I thought I needed a plan ahead of time and wanted to be prepared.

Bob got up and I said, I can do a lot but I can’t do everything.

He said, “I really don’t know how you’re doing it all now. I couldn’t do what you’re doing. Let me pray for you.”

I was deeply humbled by his words. This man who has endured so much on his long and complicated medical journey, who has been on the receiving end of countless prayers was reaching in my direction to help me. But that’s nothing new. He often does that for me and others as well.

Bob gave me a gift. It was the gift of being seen, known and heard. He gave me permission to be human. It was something I needed that morning and a big weight seemed to drop from my shoulders as he prayed for me. Ahh…the grace of God.

My fretting through the night (over what may or may not happen in the future) was hindering the gift of grace I needed at that moment. Trying to receive God’s future grace doesn’t work. That gift doesn’t come early.

I think of my friend, Bonnie, who lost her husband recently. She told me that the only way she can make it through this difficult season is by just taking one small step at a time and not look at the big picture. In her words … “I am learning that one day or even one hour at a time is much more doable. It’s too hard to think very far ahead.”

Living in the moment. I know it’s the best way to get through any day. I don’t have to worry about the future because God is already there. I don’t need to have everything figured out. He already does and there will be grace waiting for me to meet every challenge. These are words I often share with others but needed to speak them to myself again that morning. I reminded myself of all the times grace met me during past challenges.

Then later that day, I went outside for a walk thinking it would help clear my mind of any leftover intrusive thoughts. As I started down my driveway, I remembered a quote that I heard recently:

“To a man on a mountain road by night a glimpse of the next 3 feet of road may matter more than a vision of the horizon.” C.S. Lewis

On my 45 minute walk, I focused only on the 3 feet in front of me. Keeping my mind fixed on the moment, not trying to focus too far ahead or think about anything beyond the present.

As I walked, I saw thin blades of green grass poking through the soil. I heard birds singing, children playing and I greeted neighbors with a friendly hello as they passed by.

When I got home, I walked through my yard and noticed that my crocuses were blooming. Their delicate, soft lilac petals whispered hope.

My tiny crocuses didn’t labor or spin. The passage from Matthew 6 :25-34 about worry sprang to mind. Just as my Heavenly Father takes care of my spring blooms, He will take care of me.

Peace returned with an assurance that I would have what I needed with each step I took that day and in the future. God’s grace met me as my attention shifted from all the messy stuff of life to what was happening right in front of me.

I don’t know exactly where I’m going. I can’t see the horizon but I know God is with me now and He’s in the future ready to help me handle the next 3 feet when I get there. His gift of grace is waiting for me. It will be right on time.

God’s grace in the next 3 feet. It’s all I need and it’s always enough.

Blessings,

Nancy

27 thoughts on “The Next 3 Feet

  1. This is perhaps one of the best blog posts that I have ever read! I had a sleepless night such as this last night!!! Since my mother passed away a few months ago, we are still in the process of settling her affairs and putting things in order. That is just one of many things that has ‘cropped up’ on my springtime list of things to do. Reading this awesome post this morning, I feel so blessed by your words. God is there with me, and He will help me with that list!!! Thank you for this wonderful gift which both comforts me and inspires me as well. I can take it slow, one step at a time. I don’t have to have it all figured out ahead of time.

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    1. Oh, Linda , I love your comment so much. First, it makes me know I’m not alone, because others experience these times too. Second, it’s encouraging to know that what we go through can be used by God to bless others. Lastly, it’s ok to be authentic and share our stories. Being real is what others identify with but sometimes that is hard to write about. I almost didn’t post this but now I’m glad I did. God bless you … I pray you feel God’s presence with you and have His peace that passes all understanding as you take one step at a time with your to do list.

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    1. Thank you, Dawn. I’m back to trusting and sleeping well again. Being a caregiver has its own set of undiagnosed problems. I’m working on them a step at a time…

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  2. I love this so much and you write it so well. I love that you have God’s gift of putting all the thoughts and feelings in to words and that you share it. Your words really validate my thoughts and feelings. Love you, my Friend❤️

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    1. Thank you, Bonnie. Writing helps me process things more deeply and in the end I hope my words help others as well. Love you too 💕

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  3. Beautiful and meaningful, Nancy. An encouragement to me that my restless and sleepless nights are not unique to me, because other Christian women experience the same. The “still, small voice of the LORD” often comes in the quiet hours of the night. You are blessed to have Bob. I love your writings. They are full of good messages.

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    1. I like that thought that “the still small voice of the Lord often comes in the quiet hours of the night.” In order to here His whisper, we need to be still. What better time to hear Him than when everything is quiet during the night. Thank you for your lovely comment, Mary.

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  4. What a wonderful and graceful post, Nancy. I love the descriptions of all the things you saw on your when you kept your focus on the three feet in front of you.

    It also reminds me of a sermon that was titled something like “How big is your God?” In it the pastor asked the question whether God was bigger than your worries. When I wake up at 3am, I often am able to drift back off to sleep with the thought, “My God is bigger than my worries.”

    Sending lots of gratitude that with all you have on your plate, you found your way to share this lesson and post with all of us! Best wishes for the rest of your day and to-do list!

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    1. “My God is bigger than my worries” I will speak those words next time I wake up at 3am with something on my mind. Those are powerful words, because we know how big He truly is. Thank you, Wynne.

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  5. Thank you Nancy for sharing these precious reflections and gifts of grace. I am goal oriented planner both by nature and by nurture. As I get older, I find that quality which was so invaluable in my younger years as I finished school, began a career, and eventually a family has become more of a burden of anxiety and sleepless nights as I struggle to see a clear horizon in a very cloudy chaotic world. I have jotted down your quote from CS Lewis as well as your words, “I don’t have to worry about the future because God is already there. I don’t need to have everything figured out. He already does and there will be grace waiting for me to meet every challenge.”

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    1. I’m so happy that the CS Lewis quote spoke to you and you were able to find some inspiration from my words and experience. I think it’s common for women to wake during the night, especially as we get older. We carry a lot of responsibility and would love to be able to fix things in our family and in this “cloudy chaotic world” as you put it. Thank you so much for reading and for your lovely comment, Beth.

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  6. Dear Nancy, thank you for this beautiful reminder to remain focused on the next three feet. When I wake up in the middle of the night, I will remember this post. You remain on my prayer list.
    Prayers & blessings for you and Bob,
    Wendy Mac xo

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    1. Hello Wendy! I appreciate your lovely comment and your prayers mean a lot to me. Blessings to you too, my friend.

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  7. I very much needed to hear this. To focus on the now and not worry about the future. Thank you, Nancy for your inspiring words. You and Bob are always in my prayers

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    1. It’s so easy to let our minds wander into the future. I’m glad my experience helped you today, Terri, and thank you for your prayers. They are appreciated.

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  8. Good Morning Nancy, Just got back from walking our Labs on this rainy spring day. Their walk has become my morning prayer time. This morning, the Lord brought your name to mind with a snippet of a verse. I share it with you in the form of the prayer in which it was lifted up. “Lord, Be Nancy’s strength every morning. Her salvation in time of distress.” (Isaiah 33:2b) Blessings to you in this new day.

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  9. You describe it so well Nancy. There are a whole lot of things within 3 feet of us, so much goes unnoticed. My son and I were canoeing on a big lake in the wilderness when a big wind came up suddenly. We had to go straight into the wind or swamp the canoe. Each paddle, head down eyes forward, one at a time was our focus (about 3 feet) as each time we had to correct the canoe or the wind would take us sideways. We lived to paddle the quiet waters another season.

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    1. This is a wonderful example of God’s grace in the next 3 feet. Praise God that you both lived to paddle those waters again. Thank you, Gary.

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