N4L 163: "One Step Closer" by Ryan S. Atkins


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By Janet Perry, Janet Perry: blogger, and Nonfiction book lover. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.


Ryan Atkins shares the true and difficult journey with quadriplegia in his memoir, One Step Closer: How a Life-Altering Accident Led Me to Everything I Almost Missed. A college student in 2009, Atkins has the world by the tail. But a freak car accident leaves him paralyzed below the shoulders, changing his life fundamentally. Even after working and fighting harder than most to regain his mobility, physical miracles continue to elude him. So, he has to reach deeper for help, hope, and meaning. His crumbled dreams are reshaped and his hope soars as he rediscovers the need for God and what matters most.


  • Writing – process ups and downs of recovery and adjustment; overcome terror of being vulnerable
  • Accepting help – realize others genuinely want to help/serve; take a dose of humility
  • Turning to God – He reveals meaning and purpose while also helping us see our true identity
  • Embracing an eternal perspective – see life beyond the here and now, recognizing mortality is merely a blip in eternity


  • “As unbearable as a lifetime of paralysis sounded, having people think I was mentally compromised was even worse.”
  • “Suddenly I was no longer viewing Jesus as a genie whose sole purpose was to grant my wish of walking once again. Unexpectedly, the healing itself began to take a back seat on my priority list. ‘Seek the Healer, not just the healing’ became my mantra."
  • “It really took me getting flat on my back to develop a sense of empathy, a desire to have a purpose greater than just myself.”
  • “Life took on a much deeper meaning and richer hope for the future.”
  • “As it turns out, there is a thin line between allowing suffering to accomplish its purposes and adopting a scarcity theology that assumes hardship and lack in and of themselves are the central pillars of godliness.”
  • “God can still allow me to have a purposeful life no matter what the abilities of my arms and legs.”
  • “There’s a reason to have hope!”

BUY One Step Closer: How a life-altering accident led me to everything I almost missed


For more about Ryan’s journey being a quadriplegic, check out his blog, “Flat on My Back.”

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