It was his daughter’s birthday party. She was 5 and wasn’t ready to join her daddy’s dance invitation. But she realized all she had to do was to stand on his shoes! Many choices are easier to make when we can stand on someone else’s shoes. I watched as some of the adults seemed worried about the little girl falling off daddy’s shoes, but she was full of joy because he held her in his strong arms.

Have you noticed how many times we worry about things that don’t happen? We anticipate dangers that don’t develop. Worry is a fearful response to the anxiety of not knowing. A world-famous psychologist, Soren Kierkegaard, defined anxiety as “the alarming possibility of being able.”

When we worry about what we cannot do, we miss many options for positive change. Dealing with worry is a combination of two possibilities: letting go of what I cannot control and taking charge of what I can manage!

Too often we “fail” because we assume we must control the outcome of an issue. But failure reminds us that we cannot control everything. The reassurance of reality is that failure is not final. We have another day or opportunity to try again. When we give up control, very often new possibilities emerge that lead to solutions.

The realization that I can take charge of some issues is also freeing. I may not solve all the issues I face today, but I can begin with one with which I can deal. In a child’s book I read, the concept was clear: “Inch by inch, anything a cinch!” Perhaps that’s a bit simplistic. Another way of describing it says, “One step (or day) at a time.”

The Chinese proverb says, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Can you find one piece of the puzzle while you search for the next? The only time you can use is the present.

Back to the birthday party. When I looked again, what I saw was a beautiful smile from the little girl. She had “danced” with her Daddy, even if all she did was to stand on his shoes.

I’m reminded of Psalm 23 which says, “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for Thou art with me.” When I follow in His steps, I’m always safe.

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Dr. James E. Kilgore retired as President of the International Family Foundation and lives in Canton. His most recent book, LIVING WITHOUT LIMITS, was published in late 2019 and is available at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

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