A barricade of poles appeared on the steep part of the trail where I walked. I had seen a lot of odd things in these woods, but never had someone put logs in my way.

I wasn’t about to go around the poles just because someone put them there. And, stepping over was hard. For three days I grumbled to myself as I climbed, having to lift my foot high to step over the poles. On the fourth day, I didn’t lift my foot high enough, so I stepped down on the poles.

I realized that I had been making a mistake. Certainly, complaining was a mistake. But my whole view was off. Probably because I didn’t like someone interfering with my trail, I liked it how it was. My attitude clouded my eyes.

When I stepped down on the poles, I realized this wasn’t a barrier to make it harder.

This was a step.

It actually made the climb up or down easier and safer. Why didn’t I see it sooner?

I wonder how often I see things as barriers, as trouble, and they are really steps to help me get up or down. I wonder how the way I look at things makes them hard when they could be for good.

Isn’t it this way with most problems? We really do learn from them, which then helps us take the next step even better.

Or fears. When we step right up to those things we are afraid of, instead of going over them or around them, we build courage for the next time and begin to look at obstacles as opportunities. We grow and learn that obstacles help make us who we are, for good. And, our example as we encounter problems influences others, especially our children.

Our children need to see problems and fears as opportunities to grow and make a difference, not something to high step over or find a way around. Grumbling and avoiding only bring us down. Seeing obstacles as opportunities takes us higher.

Is it an obstacle or an opportunity?

Courage is built by taking one step at a time.

Grumbling or giving in keeps our children from learning that they can step up, that things do work out, that God won’t try them beyond what they can endure. That He is with them, now and in the future.

Grumbling or giving in keeps us from becoming who God wants us to be and from what He wants us to do.

Let’s see poles as steps, not barriers.