Point Your Toes in a New direction

Aaron McHugh

When I was in college I was certain about having a future career in the ministry. I didn’t want to be a pastor. I thought I’d work at a camp in the mountains. In high school, my life was salvaged starting with a conversation with my friend Heather.

During Mrs. McCloskey’s English class she turned to me and said, “There is more to you than this”. I’m sure I was high during this conversation. Yet she saw deeper than my behavior and bad choices. Heather knew God and I became curious. Soon after, I decided that I wanted to help other people experience God like this.

After I graduated Baylor, my wife and I packed our U-Haul moving truck and drove to Colorado to spend the summer working for Young Life. My plan was coming together. For our volunteer assignment we were stationed at Wilderness Ranch, an ideal remote outpost. Our mission was to help launch high school kids for weeklong-guided trips in the high country.

I recently found a letter I wrote late that summer to a wealthy man who owned a ranch nearby. He was funding the start of a similar wilderness program. The actual day-job was spending time with high school kids reminding them, There is more to you than this. We were offered the job and needed to relocate our newlywed belongings to this one stoplight town.

My wife cried, “I can’t do this. This town is so small”.

We said, “Thank you, but we won’t be coming”.


Without a plan, with no map for what to do next we stepped forward. Actually we didn’t know where to step. Before we could take a step we first did what my wife calls Pointing your toes. She learned this idea from Donald Miller. Without really knowing where to go, what the end game would be, we started with pointing our toes in a new direction.

Twenty-three years later reading that letter, I can see. I see how sometimes you think you know what you want. You spend a lot of energy and focus on getting there. Then you find out it’s not what you want. You see differently once you arrive in the place you dreamed about.

Life isn’t static. Life is fluid, pliable and moving. We get a new boss. Our company sells. New neighbors move in. Your kids grow up. Your marriage ends. You get bored with the predictability and comfort that you worked decades to achieve.

Yet, we don’t know what the next step should be. A step feels too big. Start smaller. Slowly move your toes. Start pointing them in a new direction and see where it goes.