Baby Steps in the Right Direction

Baby Steps in the Right Direction

Few movies have had lasting impact on our family like “What About Bob?”.  We laugh. We cry. It moves us!  …but we mostly laugh!   My husband and kids can have entire conversations using lines from this movie.  It’s very possible we’ve subconsciously memorized the entire script.

God knows this, I’m sure, and  it’s not surprising that the Holy Spirit would pull some redeeming truth out of all the thoughts logged in my little brain from information here and there to speak to me… yet again from an unlikely source.  God’s interesting like that!

It didn’t take long for me to realize that after the words “Carry On” came across the airwaves, there would need to be a new frequency to tune in to–another place to land for  refreshment for the next part of the journey.    What would “carrying on” look like on an every-day basis?  What critical things would need to happen in order to really “carry on”?  Where do I go for the resources that might be needed?  What’s the next step when there seems to be so many steps ahead?  Option overload! Too many steps!

wp-1454889635316.jpegAnd who would have thought that our favorite movie, “What About Bob?”* might give the profound answer needed with these two simple words …”baby steps”. 

Baby Steps –in the words of the character, Dr. Leo Marvin, means “…setting small, reasonable goals for yourself one day at a time…one tiny step at a time.”*  In one particular scene, Dr. Leo Marvin, the psychiatrist played by Richard Dreyfuss,  tells Bob (Bill Murray) not to think about “everything you have to do to in order to get out of the building — just think of what you must to do to get out of this room and when you get to the hall,  deal with that hall, and so forth. *…well, you get the idea!

Reasonable …attainable…not so overwhelming.

A friend of mine once said if you don’t like something about yourself or your situation, you have two options:  Learn to live with it or do something about it!  That “something” that needs to be done might seem overwhelming but if you look at it in small, incremental steps, it’s not so overwhelming and the load begins to lift — one step at a time.

My issue is often  worry …anxiety about the “what if’s” …lack of motivation …winter blahs …depression.

The revealed truth is:  Trust God!  He is in control.  I am not! Speak this truth to myself over and over.  {Rinse and Repeat!}

And the truth is, to get from “my issue” to the “revealed truth” is a lot longer than the double space between those two lines on a type-written screen.

Baby Steps …


Talk to family and friends who love you enough to speak the truth …in love …with chocolate 😉

And in these conversations with God and others, these things came to light …

Do I trust God to handle the situation?  Will He be as safety conscious as I am? (insert: I-can’t-believe-you-just-said-that face!)  Can He be fully trusted with everything?  and I mean everything?

Do I trust God to work through my husband to make good decisions for us?  Will he consider the safety and well-being of our family …as much as I do? (insert more of those faces)

#TRUST:    to have confidence, be confident … to be bold …to be secure …to feel safe, be careless *

And in the wisdom of a trusted friend, these words settled deep into my being …“That’s God’s responsibility!” Are you trying to own something that is not your’s to own? and I realized –that’s it!!  For so long I’ve tried to be responsible for the safety and well-being of all those around me — ALL of you!  I’ve stressed and fretted and stirred myself into anxious soup over trying to keep you all safe from all harm …physically, spiritually and emotionally.  Yikes !  Did I just type that??  It sounds so awful –but true.

The real truth is, I’m not God (don’t laugh) and it’s not my responsibility. It’s His alone!  Now here’s the deal …I could say all day long, “God is in control. I am not!” but there was something of deeper impact when I said, “This–thing or situation–is God’s responsibility, not mine.”  Something unlocked!  I’m out of the room and I’m now in the hall!  The steps out of the building seem like a possibility now …there’s hope!

Words are powerful!  Never underestimate simple, everyday conversations that might bring healing and hope at just the right time.

Another part of this conversation revealed something God’s been trying to get my attention on for quite some time …I need weekly Sabbath rest!  Friends, of all the 10 Commandments, this one seems to be the most overlooked and underestimated.  We. Need. Sabbath.   The Sabbath was not a miscalculated “oops” in the Creation work week!  It  was  an intentional part of creation.  Our bodies and minds need the ebb and flow of work and rest.  Without it we crash and burn.  In the words of Priscilla Shirer in her Bible study, Breathe, Making Room for Sabbath, she says– “Resist the urge to continue!” * 

Baby step …weekly Sabbath rest! (somewhere outside in nature when at all possible!)

Another baby step …buying a recommended  book on anxiety to work through with a friend.  (I don’t need to be worried when people see me reading this book, right? 🙂 )

More baby steps …health check up. (Side note:  Menopause is real.  Don’t let anybody fool you. Not all are created equal on this so be okay with your journey being different than someone else you know.  There’s no need to be a hero on this one!)


Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
    do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
    and he will show you which path to take.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT)

Your “steps” may not look like my steps but take your steps of faith …however infantile they may seem.  Let God take you by the hand as you walk from one room to the next until you find yourself  out of the “building”* that’s been holding you hostage …and step out into freedom.

baby steps (1)

*Movie/Quote Credit:  “What About Bob?” (Writen by:  Alvin Sargent, Laura Ziskin, Tom Schulman and Directed by:  Frank Oz )

*Quote by Priscilla Shirer:  Breathe – Making Room for Sabbath, Priscilla Shirer (Lifeway Press, Nashville, TN)

*Great website for Bible Study tools:

Joy Waters Martin

My kids tease me sometimes that my definition of a situation going well is often described as, "It was 'life-giving' " -- meaning, it may have had some conflicts or uneasy moments or stress but all in all , something about it breathed life into the situation and the people involved...something of the heart was moved in a good direction. I'm all about LIFE ... life with my husband, life with 4 adult children, their spouses and 8 grandchildren (to date, that is :), life in our home and life in a wild adventure we tend to label "ministry". In reality , all of these categories mesh together to make up the "organic me". Relational , redeeming and restoring are some of my favorite words and they give life to my soul as I walk it all out with Jesus Christ, the Giver of all life. Profile Photo by: Melody Martin

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  1. flt

    ,,,kinda like imperfect progress….

    1. Exactly 😉 …and thanks for being one of my dear walking -with friends!

  2. So glad you’re writing again! Lots of practical steps (pun intended!) in this piece. Your vulnerability in sharing your struggles opens all of us up to share in the same way. Love you!!

    1. Love you friend …another fellow -walker. God is downloading volumes. He’s so sweet.

  3. joy3

    great, now i have to go watch “what about bob” 🙂 love you!

    1. Haha …we’ll have to watch it together except I know what’s coming and I start laughing hysterically…good for the soul. Thanks for your timely words to me last week, my friend! ♡

  4. Debora Bailey

    Love the “BabySteps” taking you out of the room holding you hostage. I actually have a “real room” in our house which has attempted to do this to me.

    You know when God says to not be anxious about anything….I think that He was not speaking from his female spirit…..especially during and after menopause.

    1. Joy Waters Martin

      I can hear you saying all this and it makes me smile … We keep walking together, Debora 🙂

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