“One foot in front of the other. That’s all just one more step. One foot in front of the other. You can do it. Just one more step. One foot in front of the other.” This was the mantra I would chant to myself as I trained as a high school cross country runner and felt the fatigue through my whole body, the cramp in my side, the weariness of my legs.
“One more minute. Just get through the next minute. You can do it. Hang in there, one more minute. You can make it through one more minute.” This was the mantra I would chant in my head thirteen years later when my one year old son was in so much pain he would scream and writhe in agony, holding his hands up to me in a plea to be held, tears streaming down his reddened face. Sitting in a rocking chair, I’d pick him up and cuddle him on my lap where he would curl into a ball and cease his writhing (but not screaming) for a couple of seconds before he started squirming again and wriggled his way down between my legs to the floor where he would continue screaming and writhing in agony. After a couple of seconds on the floor, he would again hold his hands up in a plea to be held. Repeat and repeat most of the day and night.
It seemed never ending. It felt like I was accomplishing nothing and for my task-oriented self, that was really frustrating. I felt maddeningly helpless. My heart was shredded seeing my beloved son in so much agony and not being able to stop it for him. I felt like I just couldn’t do it anymore and we were never going to make it through the day (or night, whichever it was). I couldn’t think about the future, the next month or week, the next day, the next hour, the next ten minutes. No, just the next minute. I just had to make it through one more minute. That I could grapple with.
Does life ever seem completely overwhelming to you? Like you just can’t cope? That it is all just too much? That you can’t carry on? You can borrow my mantra if you would like and just focus on getting through the next minute. In that minute, you can also think of one of my favorite verses, and maybe it will become a favorite of yours too:
Isaiah 41:10, 13 “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand…For I hold you by your right hand – I, the LORD your God. And I say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you’.”
Doesn’t it feel great to know that The Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the creator of the universe, the one who is all-mighty is holding your hand and promising to help and strengthen you? We do have to ask Him though. If we try to do it all on our own, he’ll let us try. So invite Him. Ask for his help and strength and just focus on the next minute.
Written by Sarah McGuire Co-Founder of Hope Anew, Mom of two boys