One step at a time, it is such homely advice yet in one sense the beginning and end of the journey. We will go nowhere good any other way, and perhaps go nowhere at all any other way.
God does not exit in the past and is nowhere in the future. If we want to reside with God, access God, hear God, then there is only one place that can happen – here and now. That is what it means to take one step at a time: step into the present and then, take a step forward into the next moment where you will be fully present as well.
Our thoughts, of course, float backward and race forward, taking us mentally from the moment where we stand. This is the fundamental challenge of mindfulness, to bring our mind to where our body is, which is also where God happens to be. Practicing mindfulness, with whatever works for us (and the continuum of options is vast, from running to yoga to tai chi to painting to centering prayer to breath mantras…) is the primary nutrient of a spiritual life.
One step at a time, one breath at a time, noticing all we can perceive in a particular moment and listening, is our challenge.
The spectacular thing about finding ourselves fully in the moment is how refreshing and invigorating it can be. Even when the moment is painful and a struggle, being fully in it energizes us in a way that powers our taking the next step.
Being in the past or the future consume our energy while being in the moment creates energy. That does not mean we should not visit the past or anticipate the future, just that we need to know where our energy comes from and how to tap into it. One step at a time.