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Letter to the Editor
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Column: Taking the First Step

“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step” – Martin Luther King Jr.
ASB+President%2C+Paige+Deffenbacher%2C+24.
Mallory Friesen
ASB President, Paige Deffenbacher, ’24.

I wouldn’t say I’m a risk taker. At all. I think people often see that I’m silly and translate that to being a free spirit. Well, I’m flattered that so many people assume that, but I’m here to debunk it. I am not a free spirit. I’m the kind of person who doesn’t mind taking the first step as long as I can see the next three or four that follow it. I like to know what’s next. Nearly every “step” I’ve ever taken has been carefully premeditated. 

Even as I begin to take the next big step in my life (college) people have approached me with questions like “Are you nervous?” The truth is, no. I’m excited, but I’m not nervous. Why? Because I know exactly how it’s going to go. For the most part, at least. 

ASB President, Paige Deffenbacher has chosen GCU for her college choice and will begin in the fall of 2024. (Mallory Friesen)

I know the exact room in the exact dorm on the exact floor in the exact building on the exact campus I will be spending my freshman year of college. I know who my roommates are. I know when move-in day is. I know the exact parking garage my Chevy Equinox will be parked in and how many dining dollars I have for each week. I know my exact class schedule for the first two semesters. I know which days of the week I have classes and which days of the week I don’t. I know what time they begin as well as approximately how long it will take me to walk to each building. I know what grades I need to get to qualify for Grand Canyon University competitive nursing program.

Ladies and gentlemen, it gets worse. If you think my excessive planning ends there, you would be mistaken. I’ll spare you the details of my 5-year plan, but TRUST. It exists and it’s color-coordinated.

I’m not saying that all of this is a good thing. I’ve certainly taken a lot of the guesswork out of the next year of my life, but doesn’t that take away some of the fun? The spontaneity? The adventure of it all? This is not a Vogue article on how to organize your life. This is an exposé on why you shouldn’t. Don’t get me wrong, there is beauty in having your ducks in a row. But there is also beauty in the unknown. In taking the first step without knowing the second. 

The times in my life when I’ve been forced to take a “step of faith” have been scary, to say the least. Please note my use of the word “forced” rather than something lighthearted. I wish I could say that I’ve taken dozens of faith-fueled steps on my own accord, but that just wouldn’t be the truth. The steps of faith I’ve taken have nearly always been the product of either a misstep or a shove. 

Missteps. Times I’ve taken my perfectly calculated first step down a flawlessly laid-out path and have failed. Miserably. Times my careful planning has not gone the way I anticipated and have been forced to quickly reassess. 

Shoves. Times where people in my life (family members, mentors, friends, the Lord, teachers, people who I don’t see eye-to-eye with, anyone really) have forced my hand. Typically these instances are out of love, but not always.

Both of these categories are cluttered with more personal examples than I count. Most of them are not super fun to talk about. They’re messy. Embarrassing. They reveal just how selfish and fractured I am, and expose the things about myself that I’m not proud of. Nonetheless, there is freedom in vulnerability and joy in laughing about all of the mistakes I could have avoided. 

Here’s a fun fact about me: this is only my second year on the Student Leadership team. I joined the team my freshman year as a wide-eyed 14-year-old. I had big expectations and high hopes but, to put it frankly, it was a disappointing year. Granted, it was the year after COVID-19, so a lot of plans were thwarted and things looked different than they had before. Nonetheless, I didn’t feel like my voice mattered. I felt like my effort was either overlooked or taken for granted. I didn’t rejoin the team my Sophomore or Junior year and strongly debated not returning my Senior year either. 

The 2023-24 FCS high school leadership team. (Natalie Garcia)

You’ve probably put the puzzle pieces together by now that, yes, I did return. I came back to the team because of the (loving) shove of Coach Hope, who encouraged me to give it one more shot. She encouraged me to think beyond what was comfortable or rewarding for me and think about the needs and desires of others. The student body. My friends. My peers. My teammates. My fellow Seniors. She reminded me that being a leader wasn’t about doing the fun thing or the easy thing. It was about taking into consideration what would benefit everyone. The student body as a whole. That step (or shove) of faith opened up a lot of doors that would have stayed locked had I not relented. Heck, I’m the Student Body President. That’s wild. Despite what some may think, I didn’t walk into this role. I was chosen and decided to say yes to whatever the role ended up looking like. That was not my plan, it was the Lord’s. I’m grateful for the things He’s taught me through it. I’ve learned so much about leading selflessly (mostly through trial and error). Being a part of the team has been so rewarding.

Philippians 2:3-5 says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.” 

The past Paige and the present Paige have fallen victim to believing her plans and meticulous steps are best. Future Paige will also probably fall into this trap as well. The moral of the story is this: please, please, pretty please, learn from my mistakes. Some of the most fulfilling situations I’ve ever been placed in were not out of my own accord. I tripped into them. I fell into them. I was violently pushed into them. Instead of panicking when this happens, embrace it. 

Here’s my challenge for both you and me: Take a risk, take a step without seeing the next three or even two that follow it. 

To read more from The Feather visit, Column: Is photojournalism here to stay? and Column: Israel-Hamas conflict unpacked

For more opinions read Editorial: Antisemitism rises in the name of freedom of speech

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About the Contributor
Mallory Friesen
Mallory Friesen, Photo Editor
Mallory Friesen returns to The Feather for her second year as a photojournalist hoping to improve her skills. As a ‘lifer’ at Fresno Christian, you can find her on the soccer field or cheer mat. Friesen hopes to attend college and continue her creativity by traveling the world and using her photography skills. 
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  • D

    DelaneyApr 12, 2024 at 11:33 am

    Paigeeeeeeeeee! You have such a beautiful and unique voice! I love your take on embracing the future 🙂

    Reply
  • K

    kemyaApr 10, 2024 at 1:08 pm

    yay! great job paigey girl!!!

    Reply