I’ve climbed staircases in my life, literal ones. The one in my childhood home that stopped on a landing at the front door of our bi-level and then up to the living room. The one in our farmhouse apartment, curved and with gaps in the wooden steps where crickets would get stuck in the summertime and “serenade” us at night. Our first house which had 2. One set was short with carpet, the other without risers, so Colin could hang his feet through. Our house in Landisville which had crazy steep steps that we carried and soothed all 3 of our children up and down. The one we carried countless pieces of drywall up as we flipped that house. And finally our staircase here at our current home- the one that echoes with kids and teenagers running and rushing up and down. The one with a weird crick that you avoid if everyone’s finally asleep.
As I consider the literal staircases I’ve traveled, I can’t help but consider the figurative ones as well. I’ve climbed a few and reached the top. I’ve started many realizing halfway up that on my own isn’t going to work, I’m going to need to use the handrail. Sometimes crawled to the top using both handrails. I’ve slipped down a few. Gotten tired of climbing and taken a seat. Run up and back down a few.
In a conversation this past week I was told that not everyone sees the staircase the same. Some people see the steps and are comfortable with just knowing that. Some people see the whole thing. That’s me. I’d really prefer to see the whole thing before I start it. I’d like to know how long it might take, how many steps are involved. Is this one I can run up or will it take all I have to climb it. Will it take my breath away?
Others are comfortable climbing the steps not knowing how the climb might go, just knowing they want to be on the climb.
This past week I realized how paralyzed I have felt climbing the staircases of the last 3 months. Paralyzed in little bits here and there sometimes started by the news, by another’s heartache, by my kid’s unanswerable questions, even by a prophetic word or sermon.
When I felt like God revealed my paralysis with Him this week, I’ve had to decide which staircases I want to continue to climb. I’ve come to realize I have the tendency to trip over the first step or miss a step because I am focusing on, trying to understand and figure out the whole staircase. Do I quit the staircase because I can’t get comfortable on the climb? Do I really want to jump from the staircase because I don’t know what’s ahead?
It’s made me consider what the past 100 steps mean to me? Wasn’t the previous climb worth more than the uncomfortable step you find yourself on now? Even if the next one seems insurmountable? If I’ve been holding onto The Hand Rail, trusting Him to know the steepness, upcoming curves, gaps in the steps, can’t I trust Him to also set my pace.
So this week instead of making these big leaps from the steps, I’ve decided to stick out the figurative staircases in my life. The unknown climbs of small business, church ministry, my personal spiritual, emotional, and mental health. I’m hanging for dear life to The Hand Rail. As I gain my footing, make myself comfortable, talk myself out of giving up, He’s been saying “Bethany, just slow your climb.”
Slowing my climb means taking this time day to day, week to week, month to month.
Slowing my climb may mean paying someone to cover the shop this summer.
Slowing my climb means having grace for myself and space to not be what I see as perfection.
Slowing my climb means taking care of myself and my family as much as I have my friends and customers in the past.
Slowing my climb means taking this amazing opportunity of a reset to fix what quarantine revealed wasn’t working and what was missing.
Slowing my climb is focusing on the here and the now.
Slowing my climb recognizes this grass is green. This space is enough. This is a step on a big beautiful staircase.
The staircase climb isn’t worth it if I don’t take the time to enjoy the steps. To learn from the climb. To trust in Him as I find my safety and security in Him on the steps.