By Debra Whittington: Notes from the church lady
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us. Hebrews 12: 1
With warmer weather upon us, I decided it was time to get back into the habit of walking regularly. As I thought more on this, I was a little uncertain, as it was only a matter of a few weeks since I could hardly walk at all. The memory of that pain weighed heavily on my mind and I didnít want to do anything to jeopardize my health. Besides, I enjoyed sitting on my front porch watching the terrain turning green.
It was much easier to sit and vegetate than exerting myself. I came up with dozens of excuses as to why I shouldn’t start walking regularly once again. While each idea seemed plausible at the time it popped into my head, I had to dismiss it almost immediately. When all the excuses were exhausted, I knew I had to don my sneakers and get busy.
With my little dog by my side, I set out walking toward the fence. It seemed so far away, but I was determined to get that far on my first real walk in months. With that goal accomplished I decided it was time to call it quits for the day. My little dog looked at me with what seemed puzzlement that we would turn around so soon.
I decided that with my first walk out of the way, I would try it again the next day. This time we went further than the day before and for the first time I felt optimistic that I might be able to walk a little more each day to build up my endurance. Even when I felt discouraged thinking about walking for miles last fall, I was thankful for this accomplishment after being so sick last winter.
Now, over a month later, my little dog and I are walking almost a mile at least three days a week. As we take our walks, we are constantly on the outlook for cottontails around the property. I especially enjoy seeing the baby cottontails. Since we don’t bother them, they are getting tamer and don’t run off when we walk by. Of course I know if I let her, my little dog would have a wonderful time chasing them.
Instead, she stands very still with her whole body quivering from excitement.
There are other things we enjoy about our excursions such as the warmth of the sun, seeing the new vegetation, and listening to the birds singing. All of these things remind me of what an awesome God we have that provide all we need on this earth. I can imagine that he too, takes great joy in the simple things of his creation.
I am also noticing other benefits of our frequent walks. Each week, we add to the length of our walk and now the goal of walking a mile is closer to becoming a reality than the dream a month ago. When the goal of a mile is reached, I plan to set a new goal.
Our spiritual lives parallel our physical lives in so many ways. It is so easy to talk ourselves out of doing the things we know we should do. We know we should read our Bible more, pray more and do more to further the work of the Kingdom and yet it is so easy to find excuses not to do the things we know we should. The writer of Ecclesiastes challenges readers to do everything whole-heartedly. He challenges us, “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest” (Ecclesiastes 9:10).
Just as I discovered so much in nature during my walks that I wouldn’t see from my front porch, so too I discover much when I apply myself during my spiritual walk. Our lives are like the race the writer of Hebrews wrote about, or in my case, a walk.
We need to learn to set out on the race with patience and not get ahead of the Lord. Just as it will take time for me to walk a mile or more, it will take time as I go about my spiritual walk. Just as I have goals in my walk like the gate on that first day, in my spiritual walk I set my eyes upon Jesus to give me strength to finish the course.