Lakes Church

Baby Stepping into the New Year

There is an old Bill Murray movie (“What About Bob”) in which he plays an agoraphobic who increasingly frustrates his therapist with his neurotic behavior. In more than one scene the therapist, played by Richard Dreyfuss, encourages “Bob” to take baby steps… to break down a seemingly impossible task into smaller, manageable goals. Bob recites as he leaves the office… “baby step onto the elevator…baby step  into the elevator… I’m IN the elevator…”

It’s a hilarious movie (if you’re a Bill Murray fan at least) but there’s some deeper truth there as well. I once went to a trusted mentor with a deep spiritual issue I was battling with and he wisely reminded me that God is a very patient Father, and advised me to be a little kinder to myself, to take baby steps rather than trying to make it in one giant leap. He quoted this movie and I’ve quoted it to myself countless times since when goals and challenges, even God-given ones, start to overwhelm me.

So here I am on the brink of a new year with that annual pressure of the “resolution” hanging over me, and I find myself thinking about those baby steps again. I can look at where I want to be in a year, spiritually, physically, mentally, and my response will probably be to crawl back into bed and let the ball drop without me. Or I can look for baby steps I can commit to, and give them to God in faith that He will walk every one of those baby steps with me as gladly and lovingly as a daddy holds his baby daughter’s fingers as she takes those first wobbly steps.

We’re talking about 2 things at Lakes in January- starting a Read Through the Bible plan together, and our annual 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting. And both of those can seem like overwhelming challenges, especially as we come into the post-holiday, cold weather, dark days slump that is the reality of January in upstate NY. But when we look at those in light of baby steps, there are a lot of ways they can be less overwhelming and more manageable, and become invaluable tools for drawing closer to God in the coming year.

Our Bible reading plan, “Let’s Read the Bible Together” is actually 12 plans, 1 for each month, that taken altogether cover the entire Bible. But why not consider committing just to the January plan? You’ll be reading through Luke, Daniel, Genesis, and Acts with a few Psalms sprinkled in. Sounds a lot easier than all 66 books in one bite! And another “baby step” idea…. You can actually listen to the readings on the app rather than read them… how much time do you spend in your car on an average day? Can you let the app play the reading on your commute? While you’re preparing dinner? While you’re on the treadmill (a whole other new year’s resolution topic for sure!)

And then there’s those 21 days of prayer and fasting. The first year I was at Lakes that sounded so impossibly intimidating I didn’t even think about fasting… getting into that prayer habit proved to be challenging enough. But did you know you don’t have to stop eating for 21 days? You can give up certain foods…. Or only certain meals. You can give up social media or screen time along with your favorite unhealthy treats. You can baby step into this idea of fasting with a small but sincere commitment between you and God, to try something new this year and trust Him to honor that commitment. Watch the simulcasts. Pray for 3 minutes, or 10 minutes, instead of 30. And remember that image of God as your loving, involved, encouraging Father, holding your hand as you find each unsteady step, scooping you up for an encouraging hug now and then and holding your hand tighter when you start to slip.

Leap into a new year expecting God’s guidance and provision, or baby step into new places of faith and trust. God’s got you either way!

The reading plan can be found on the youversion app or Bible.com, just search “Let’s Read the Bible Together: January”.

More info on our time of fasting and prayer can be found at lakeschurch.com/21-days-of-prayer-and-fasting

If you have never taken that very first step of faith toward trusting Jesus as your Savior and Lord, and you want to know more, you can contact me at lauren@lakeschurch.com to learn more!

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Welcome to Lakes Church (formerly Auburn AG)
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138 E. Genesee St, Auburn, NY 13021

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