Stories from…STEPS // Dan

Dan Ryland, a member of our worship team, shares his experience of the STEPS course.

Imagine you’re back in school running one of those “beloved” cross-country races. You’re halfway through and you hit that section of the course – the muddiest, sloshy-est part of the whole track. There’s too much shrubbery either side to pass anyone and you’re starting to feel a bit panicked. As everyone’s pushing and shoving in an attempt to avoid getting stuck, you become very aware of how your feet are quickly disappearing into the mud.

Although this was me 15+ years ago, childhood memories like this help me to develop perspective on the struggles and challenges I face today. There have been things in my life that have got me stuck, that have held me back from running well. Whether that has been feelings of worry, issues with self-confidence, being too hard on myself or even a negative view of my intrinsic value. STEPS has helped me to identify and deal with those negative patterns. With God’s help, it’s equipped me to work on getting unstuck.

I started my first STEPS journey – I’ll actually be doing the course for a third time this year – by dealing with trust issues. Through prior self reflection I felt like I didn’t trust wholeheartedly in certain relationships in my life. This was my starting point.

As the weeks went on, using the STEPS book (in which each chapter is a different step in the 12 step process) and time for reflection and prayer, I found that my issue wasn’t just a trust thing. It was deeper. I was fearful of being hurt emotionally – which is pretty tough for anybody to admit. I discovered that I valued the opinions of others which was then negatively affecting my relationship with myself, God and others. As I came to this vulnerable realisation, one of Jesus’ teachings stood out:

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” (Matthew 7:24-27)

Was building my life on the opinions of others the kind of sandy foundations that Jesus was referring to?

Through deepening my understanding of the value God places on my life, I have been able to improve the foundations of my character and self-confidence. In actively prioritising God’s truths, that I’m his dearly loved son, I have been freed from something that once held me back. It’s an ongoing process, but I feel that I now have the tools to better deal with those ‘stuck in the mud’ moments. Because of STEPS, I am equipped to live a life where I can be my consistent best self. Running well.

So after hearing my story, is there anything holding you back in your life? Something that’s keeping you stuck in the mud? STEPS could really be your step closer to obtaining freedom, a step forward in becoming your best self. With so much to gain, why not come along to the STEPS introduction night to see if this could be the start of your journey to getting unstuck.

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