Back when I first learned of my husband’s affair, a popular song in Christian music was Slow Fade by Casting Crowns. The lyrics were so perfect for my situation:
It's a slow fade when you give yourself away
It's a slow fade when black and white are turned to gray
And thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day
It's a slow fade, it's a slow fade
Songwriters: John Mark Hall
Slow Fade lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
Before my husband’s affair, he had told me of his attraction to this woman. My immediate response was to remind him that temptation isn’t sin; it’s only when we act on that temptation that we get ourselves in trouble.
And that’s where the problem came in.
I thought he was fighting temptation; in reality, he was taking one small step after another toward the danger, toward the very sin that would eventually cause our lives to crumble. It wasn’t a decision he simply made one morning. It was a day-by-day, moment-by-moment choice to continuously take steps toward sin instead of choosing to flee from the temptation.
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13
Small steps eventually lead you to your destination. We sometimes think little decisions just aren’t that important. For example, one piece of cake isn’t going to hurt me. But day after day, that one little piece of cake adds up. Eventually, we find that our clothes are too tight, we are struggling with health issues.
Or maybe it’s a good decision. Today, I made the decision to exercise on my breaks at work. Ten minutes of stair climbing several times each day eventually adds up. Before you know it, the scales are beginning to show that you are making good choices.
Sometimes we look at the goal—far in the distance. It’s a scary thought to figure out how to get from where we are to that goal. But the truth is, it’s a series of very small steps, small decisions.
It’s those small decisions that determine your outcome.
Do you follow the advice of the writer of Proverbs?
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil. Proverbs 4: 23-27
Or do you choose to let your eyes wander, to look to the right or the left, to get distracted by what the world has to offer?
Whatever you are dealing with today, it’s a matter of making one right decision at a time.
Maybe you are trying to heal from divorce or abuse and it seems like such an overwhelming task.
Maybe you are trying to lose weight or get in shape and you are frustrated because the goal is so far away.
Maybe you are trying to get closer to God so you can feel Him near you.
Maybe you are trying to fight that temptation that seems to be lurking around every corner.
Maybe you are trying to break that bad habit that haunts you day after day.
Over time, each of those small steps add up until you find yourself in a totally different place.
What small, positive steps can you take today?
Change your music. In the early days of recovery, I couldn’t open my Bible or pray. But I could listen to Christian music. God used the music that played in our home 24/7 to minister to my broken heart, to speak life to my weary soul. It’s a small change, but it could pay huge dividends.
Silence the distractions. We live in a world where there is always so much clamoring for our attention. The number one culprit in our home? Our phones. We are all tied to our phones way too much. It’s so easy to wake up and the first thing I do is flip through Facebook.
One thing I’ve done is turn off the notifications for social media. I find that not receiving notifications decreases my tendency to open the app and waste time flipping through my newsfeed. It’s a small change, but I believe it will pay off.
Maybe the phone or social media isn’t your number one distraction. What is it? How can you silence it? What can you do to take a small step in the right direction?
Prioritize the Word. I’ve found that when I wake up and read the Word first thing, I am more open to hearing God’s voice. My heart is set in the right direction for my day. I am more aware of His presence.
Maybe you can’t wake up and read the Bible. Maybe you need to listen to it as you drive to work. Maybe you are a night owl and can focus better in the evening. Maybe you like to take a lunch break and break open the Word. Whatever works for you, prioritize His Word. It’s about making the effort.
Find accountability. God didn’t create us to do life alone; He wants us to live in fellowship with one another. We all need friends who can encourage and correct us. We need friends who we can be completely honest with. We need friends who will call us out when we start down the wrong path. We need friends who will cheer us along when we are going strong.
Find a friend, someone with the same goals who wants the same things out of life. Make time to talk, to pray together. Commit to pray for each other. There is power in numbers.
What else? Maybe you have other ideas. Exercise was a HUGE part of my healing. It seemed that every time I went for a run, God met me there. I listened to sermons and prayed while I was running. I returned to my roots, looking at things I enjoyed when I was younger. I found that eating healthy made me feel better about myself. I chose to do things that made me feel better about myself, simple things like an occasional manicure and pedicure. I don’t know what it is that will help you heal, but I do know you get to your goal one step at a time.
Don’t get overwhelmed with the big goals you have. Remember, we all get to our destinations one small step at a time. What steps are you taking today? Are they leading you on a path to healing, a path that takes you closer to God? Or are they leading you down a path that eventually will cause your life to crumble.