In all honesty, this wasn't something I was truly excited about or really wanted to do -but it was something that I KNEW God was asking me to do and I wanted to be obedient! At first, I thought ok the reason God wants me to do this is so that I can lose some weight and be healthier - logical thought right? This was only PART of what God wanted to do in and through me during my little walk (ok maybe not so little).
Let me start by sharing with the you the physical aspects and then we will move on to the OTHER stuff. I had decided I would walk 2 miles the first week, 3 miles the second, 4 miles the third and by the end of the first month I would be walking 5 miles a day 5 days a week (yep, Sat and Sun are my free days!). So far - I have kept to that pattern with the exception of one day last week when I only did 1 mile (had to quit due to the call of nature and bathrooms being locked - minor detail I know). Anyway - so this week I am at 3 miles which I did yesterday and today...
Ok - so I am learning that I need a few things to make my walk successful each day:
Shoes - I have a pair of $20 Walmart walking shoes. They are sufficient but given the frequency of my walking, I think I need to bite the bullet and by some real walking shoes because my feet have literally been throbbing at night...however, some shoes are necessary! If I don't have shoes on for a 3 mile walk - I am probably going to end up quitting after only a short distance (unfortunately I don't have the awesome endurance in my feet like those in other countries!)
Water - Boy I had better have my water bottle- it's hot out there!
Cool Clothes - I obviously don't go walking in 80 degree weather wearing my Colorado sweatshirts and sweat pants...not a smart idea!
As I have been walking, I have noticed a few things. I notice that typically the first lap is a little hard as I have "gear up" and get going. The second lap (each lap is 1/2 mile) tends to be a little easier as does the third lap. However - that fourth lap, THE DREADED fourth lap is a booger! I mean I have to motivate myself, lecture myself preach at myself, ANYTHING to get through that fourth lap! It's tough...but once it is done then comes the blessed 5th lap! Now I know that I am really on the downhill slide - I can do this! I pick up the pace and away I go!!! ha ha!!!
I also tend to notice the people around me. There are the "mega moms" as I refer to them (I know, bad to label but just can't help it!) they are doing their little speed walk with their little IPODS or whatever in their ears. Honestly, I envy them! I am just ploddin along, dragging my big self along... Then there are the "chatty cathys" these are usually ladies that are walking together, chatting about life, kids, husbands - who knows what? I really don't listen to their conversations - PROMISE!! You have the "leisurly grandparents" - these tend to be older people (by the way, the older I get - the YOUNGER they get!) They are just enjoying the day and the weather and each other, etc. Finally, you have my two very favorite gals, I like to refer to them as the "Matriarchs of the Park". These two ladies, come each and every day to walk once around the park. They truly enjoy one another and the environment and are such a blessing - they both have a cane and literally have to stop every 5 steps or so, but they keep at it!
Today as I was walking (ok, more like plodding) along. I have to confess - there was no joyful obedience in me at the beginning. In fact, I only went to walk because my stubborn pride said I started this challenge and I am going to see it through! Ha ha. So - the first lap was the typical "maybe a 1/2 mile is good for the day" but then I heard the still small voice..."keep at it." My GRUMPY response "FINE! But I am not happy". So the walk continued...
One thing I haven't told you is that after the first day of walking, I decided to make this time my time of prayer and talking/listening to the Lord. With this in mind and my attitude above you can sense where there is going to be a lesson learned!!! Heee hee
The second lap - God really did begin to soften my heart, I began to "wake up" physically and spiritually! It was after this that the Lord really began to speak to me about my morning walk. I started to take all of the above principles about my PHYSICAL walk and start to see them as they relate to my SPIRITUAL walk. Let me share with you what He showed me.
To make my spiritual walk successful each day I need the right tools:
Prayer: I need to have that time each day that is just me and God. It's a combination of listening and talking. If I miss this part - well then, I am missing that relational intregal part of being with God.
The Word: Scripture is ESSENTIAL. God has given us a manual for life. Each and everything we need to know about how to live, work, walk, etc through this life and into the next is in it! Too many times, however, it sits on the shelf or table only to be used on Sundays. We CANNOT expect to have a healthy and successful spiritual walk if we are not DAILY in the Word of God!
Other Believers: WE NEED EACH OTHER! Too many times I hear people say "I am just going to hole up in my house - just me and God." Yes - there are DEFINITELY times that we need that, but not all the time. We have to get out and interact, encourage, invest, etc in the lives of other believers...
So - here is how this all came together during that DREADED fourth lap!! Ha ha!
On our spiritual walks: The first lap is sometimes the hardest. It's hard to get up and have that prayer time, or study the Bible or get out the door to meet with other believers. We have to literally MAKE ourselves do it! Yet - once we do it, then it tends to be just a little easier like the second lap and by the third lap, we are in the groove! We are reading the Bible and praying regularly, we are interacting with other believers and we are growing closer and closer to the Lord...THEN comes that DREADED fourth lap!!! In the spiritual walk, I see this as maybe an unexpected tragedy or turn of events, the loss of a job, arguments with a teenager or spouse, financial issues, etc...we start to waiver just a tad, and then maybe a tad more and we have to really push ourselves to stay in the Word, to keep up that prayer time, to press on! Yet - once we do, once we have pushed through the low points in our lives and have stayed the course - then HALLELUJIAH here comes the fifth lap...it's a little easier, we can catch our breath...and FINALLY the last lap - the time when we will see Jesus face to face, the race of life on Earth will end with one HUGE victory party in Heaven!!!
My revelation from the Lord didn't stop there, just as I observed the people on my physical walk - God revealed some truths about other believers through them...
First there are the "mega Chrisitans" they seem to have it all together, they walk through life hand in hand with Jesus just speeding through like no tomorrow and yes I envy them! I think I wanna be like that...I'm just ploddin along though. However - they also challenge me to dig deeper and push harder!
Second we have the "cheering chanties" these are those other believers who are there along the way to encourage and push us on forward. They are the ones who will just randomly call or e-mail and say way to go! Ones like my friend Kaycee who posted on my FB wall yesterday "Saw you walking in the park, way to go!" Think that didn't push me out the door this morning? Oh yeah! We have these in our spiritual walks to - like my friend Dani who I called yesterday and she was just so encouraging and uplifting!!!
Third the "sure but steady Chrisitans" these, like the "leisuraly grandparents" are the ones that are just firm and steady in their walk with the Lord. They are faithful, not lax, not overly zealous but just steady and true to the course laid before them!
Fourth - "The Matriarchs of Faith" these are my true heros in life! They are the ones that although they have been knocked down, kicked, spit on, and stomped on by this life - they continue to truck along faithful to follow their Savior. One that comes to mind is our friend Gordy Herrick back in Bayfield. He lost his son in an accident only a few short months before the birth of the first grandchild. He has had job issues, family issues, health issues, etc and yet he holds fast to the path of Christ! These are the ones that inspire us!
Fifth - There are the "Plodders" and unfortunately in both my physical and spiritual walks, I think I fall into this category at various times. These are the Christians that are just going along, at a slow pace and the feet may be draggin but they are moving!
I don't think any one group is better or worse than the others and to be perfectly honest - I think there are times in which we will all fall into the various groups. There are times when we are like the "mega moms" We are cruising and growing in our walk with the Lord, we are filled with joy and are focused on the prize of the final lap! Then there are times where we have a sure but steady pace - we know the role God has for us, we are up for the task and we are just going to keep on keeping on. There are times when we are the encouragers - we are meant to spur others on so that they can get where they need to go with Christ. There are definitely times where we really do feel like we are just "plodding along" spiritually. It's all we can do to just be in the Word and pray each day.
No matter where we are on the spiritual walk there is something so critical and so crucial that we have to take note of - EVERY group is moving, EVERY group is pressing on toward the prize...You see, just like the various people on my morning walk in the park are all walking in some way shape or form along the walking trail, so are all believers walking or moving along in some way on the path toward the VICTORY party! We all will reach the same place and have the same reward!!!
Now there is one final group that I haven't mentioned. On my morning walk, I like to refer to them as the "passers by" . They are the ones that drive by the park and will look, perhaps honk or wave at those of us out there walking. They are interested enough to glance or take note but they aren't out there walking that path. In our spiritual lives - these are the lost that we come across each and every day. They take note of us, they know we are on this path and they are observing - but they aren't walking. They don't have that relationship with Christ - it is left to us to point them in the right direction, to take their hand and say "Come on, join me on my walk!"
Wow! This turned into a lengthy post but I just had to share it with you because it truly was eye opening to me. I know that this illustration isn't fail proof but I think it is a pretty close resemblance of the walk we are on in a spiritual sense!
With that - I am off to change out of these smelly work out clothes...oh, I could run with that but I think I will save it for another day!
"I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us"