Take baby steps. Step out of your comfort zone. Have courage. You never know until you try.
I wonder if you have heard or said these exact phrases to yourself. When you say these words out loud have you wondered whether you actually believed the words you were telling yourself?
I believe in modeling what I strive for in my life. When I practice the art of going first, I pray my moving forward will bless someone else.
By going first, you set the stage for others to step out of their comfort zone. You model how, why, and when to pave the way for them to try on their own.Going first is an act of love, sacrifice, courage, and legacy. Stepping into a new beginning may even change the trajectory of your family story. The Art of Going First Click To Tweet
What Does Going First Look Like?
When I was growing up, I believed I had the ideal family. Mom and Dad shepherded my four brothers and me well. We knew love, comfort, safety, and forgiveness.
But outward emotions were lacking. Mom and Dad’s actions showed love, but I longed for the words.
Hearing the words, “I love you” meant that all of the other outward signs were true. I could carry the words in my heart and pull them out when needed.
When I became a mom at age 27, I knew that words mattered. Telling my newborn son that I loved him was going to be part of his everyday vocabulary.
Those three words pack a punch and remembering how much I wanted to hear them as a child spurred me on to change how I would raise my own kids.
What does going first look like for you? How have you replaced a family narrative in your story?
First Steps Make Take More Than One Try
In the art of going first, I find that some people are not receptive.
Maybe, it is the subject matter. Perhaps it’s because people aren’t willing to talk about certain topics. Or maybe they aren’t ready to hear about my journey.
If you have experienced pushback in your own life, it doesn’t mean you stop and never try again. So many factors collide when talking about topics such as mental health, grief, abuse, divorce, etc.
Delicate subject matters require a gentle approach. Trying to make a new way for your family by breaking generational ties is going against the tide. Even Jesus was not resistant to naysayers who questioned Him at every turn.
The Art of Going First According to Jesus
Jesus took many first steps in his short life of ministry. Every move was intentional and meant to show us the way after He was no longer with us.
Deuteronomy 31:8 tells us:
The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
We can trust God to guide us. He is with us wherever we go. God’s presence is the beacon that shows us the way.
Jesus’s willingness to step into a culture of dissension and darkness is our key to new life. When the end of His life was but days away, Jesus continued to teach His disciples and those who followed Him.
In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus asks Peter, James, and John to keep watch with Him as He prays. He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me” (Mark 14:34, NLT).
Jesus didn’t stop pointing His disciples to what was about to happen. He was trying to prepare them. Jesus was also trying to protect their human hearts from what was to come.
This is the art of going first. It may look like taking the unpopular next step. It may mean sacrificing what you know for what is best. Or, it may look like asking your friends to stand with you when things around you begin to crumble.
Here’s what I’m learning:
Your brave step is needed. Your sacrifice is noticed. The next generation is watching. Embracing the art of going first has the power to break generational ties and steer your people in a new direction.
Together we can change the narrative that feels comfortable but does not align with God’s story for us. Together we can hold hands and walk into a new chapter that will bless those following behind us as they make their own way.
In the art of going first, let’s remember to look to God for the way we should go.
And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:19, NIV).
Empowering and equipping women to live life well!
Here’s another post you may like to add to the conversation. Click HERE.
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I think for me, “going first” is kind of similar to “paying it forward”. Sometimes its hard and sometimes I rather be served but when I am working for Him, its important that I go first and represent our Lord with how I act and work throughout my life. That first time you go first is hard but the more you do it, it definitely gets easier. God bless you Mary!
Going first is not my usual choice because I want to make sure I am doing it right.I agree that it does get easier the more you do it. Thank you for stopping by.
Aw, Mary … I need this very encouragement right now, and you also included my favorite Bible verse (Deut. 31:8)! Thank you, friend …
I love Deuteronomy 31:8 too. I am so glad you received encouragement through this post.
I need those around me to show me what it looks like to be brave, courageous, and invite me to step out of the safety of my comfort zone. Your work has been that for me for years, Mary! I’m grateful we are re-connecting in this season.
I have loved the years that we have followed each other. There were times that we were walking through similar seasons and you led me forward when I needed it most. Thank you for going first for me.
Just this morning, a pastor’s sermon made me reflect on how God’s direction for our life happens when we focus on Him first. My first step is focusing on Him knowing He is with me every step. All the scriptures you shared spoke to me. Be brave. I see, too, the brave steps I could take with my “work” family that could help create more trust, respect, and growth. It starts with God within us…love this message!
I always love when you stop by, Lynn. I’m glad you found a connection between your pastor’s sermon and this post. It all definitely begins with God.
Going first is a struggle for me but my husband does help me. Love this beautiful reminder, Mary. Hope you have a wonderful spring!
What a blessing to have a husband that helps you to go first. It is so good to see you here. I hope you have a wonderful spring too.
There are so many firsts in the raising of my children. I don’t think they realize the patterns we replaced. I am sure they will build on that with their families. One of the things I changed is learning their love languages – and trying to speak and translate theirs instead of expecting to only communicate in mine. My life has been richer because of that. There’s so very much to your topic of being “first” – the first person to ask the hard questions in a classroom that everyone else wants to ask and is too embarrassed to. The first person to say, “Hello.” The first to reach out – so many firsts that are life-changing. You have me thinking about the firsts as our family expands. Shalom, Mary ~ Maryleigh
Thank you for trying again to leave your comment. I’m glad it worked this time. It is always a blessing when you share your wisdom here. We are in similar places in our lives and I value your insight. I think learning your sons’ love languages is such a great idea. I imagine that each of your sons felt known and seen by you doing that. Thank you for sharing. Blessings!
Wow, Mary, you’ve really challenged me here on a topic I’ve not spent any time with. Now, I’m really thinking about what narratives and patterns have been carried forward with my sons and how that might still be impacting their little families.
Good food for thought on this Tuesday morning!
You have four amazing sons who I know benefitted from your homeschooling and extra time with them. That is a huge piece of your story and theirs. Going first does provide a new way of thinking about how we have instructed our kids and how we are continuing the story for our grandkids. You’ll have to let me know where your reflections on this subject lead you.