I have the utmost respect for Rich Mullins as a musician and individual. One thing I admire about him is how much he knew he needed Jesus and he was quick to acknowledge the depravity of mankind without the Gospel. This song came to mind while I was writing yesterday’s post and I thought I’d share.
I have learned some valuable lessons through my hikes and outdoor “expeditions.” Most of the time I’m just enjoying creation around me, doing anything to ignore the blister on my heel or thinking about what kind of campfire meal will be going down that night, but occasionally I have a few thoughts. One of these thoughts tend to show up during a long run or tedious hike when I’m just ready to quit and it tends to come out verbally, just above a whispering groan as:
“one foot in front of the other.”
No one summits mountains in leaps and bounds. Climbers who attempt Mt. Everest spend as much time descending the mountain to adjust to the altitude than they do ascending to cover ground. In no way can they rush their repetitive journey or else they are guaranteed serious side effects. Even if we could take leaps and bounds, would we want to and miss the journey just to get to our destination? We might not appreciate every step along the path, but the only options are to turn around or keep going. Both of them require a step-by-step journey and downhill can be just as strenuous as uphill. Sometimes we become too consumed by the end goal that we want to rush through the path, missing the beautiful lake or sunset. If we continue on our journey, before we know it, we are looking back down the mountain from the summit to see the journey that we took one step at a time. Isn’t that how we are suppose to live?
Day by day.
Step by step.
Not rushing through any moments.
We can respond in faith and risk failure along our journey for we know that our security is in Christ and we will fall into His grace. We don’t have to be thrilled walking through the blisters and crossing the risky streams of life, but they are a part of the journey that God has placed us on and we are to bring Him glory in everything. There are stages of doubt, anxiety, straight up “not knowing,” anticipation, waiting and complete failure. There might be stage in a relationship you have with someone (significant other, sibling, friend or parent) that you are experiencing that you wish would pass. I am currently in a “I have no clue”/waiting/restless stage and I praise God that He is directing my steps. Some days I don’t even know what it looks like to bring Him glory in my situation but my faith grows in Him as I offer jumbled prayers and seek peace. I do know that, by te grace of God, I do not need to know the full picture of my situation/life/experience. I have the full picture of the Gospel and that is enough to get me through one step at a time.
Unfortunately my “one foot in front of the other” mindset tends to only come when I am experiencing less-than-ideal situations. I forget that even the perfectly fine, routine, normal days/stages should be taken by steps. So often, during times of just plain goodness, I find myself focusing on the future steps that lead to a more exciting time of life. It’s fine to get excited about things to come, but don’t let it take away from your focus on the here and now. Christ came so that we live life and live it abundantly! (John 10:10) Wishing for days or weeks or stages of relationships to end is not living abundantly. We all force situations or manipulate things to be “my way” and that is not living abundantly. That is living for our own glory and that is not why Christ came. Seize every moment, all of them as the insividual gifts that they are. Don’t seize them as an hour, a day, a timeline, or a book. Seize minute-by-minute, conversation-by-conversation, page-by-page. The dark, the painfully normal, the exciting, and the uncertain ones should all be fully lived. Live abundantly and glorify God through it all with your cries of thankfulness and anguish as you acknowledge the power of His grace and how hopeless you would be without Him.
Psalm 37:23 says “The STEPS of a man are established by the LORD, when he delights in His way, though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong for the LORD upholds his hand.”
There is quite a bit that I could say about mountains. They cause an aggressive stir in my heart that feels as if little snappy firecrackers are exploding. I could go on about how they are such a breath taking inspiration and the beautiful analogies that they provide for life and our spiritual walk. I could go on for a long time…BUT! Tonight I just want to share their beauty and hope that it helps wrap up your Monday. (Plus, I’m writing from my phone because I’m much too comfy on my couch to go next door for wifi to post from my CPU…honesty hour, folks.)
A beautiful sunrise, a freshly plowed dirt road and some competition with the dirt plow never hurt anyone. (I’m also not complaining that I got to wave “good morning” to my best friend/neighbor as she drove by for work.) It was quite the process this morning of getting myself together and lacing up for a good run, but I am so incredibly glad I did! I got my fist-pump in for the day and it’s not even noon!
Go find your Friday fist pump moment!
I’m bent over on a bar stool at my friend’s apartment, sipping my tea and agonizing over the typical “what to post” decision that I’m sure most people encounter as they venture into the world of blogging. My head fills with fleeting thoughts…some original, most of them not, but I can’t quite get the creative juices going. I keep looking at other blogs and playing the comparison game. This, of course, is not helpful and slows my (already slow) roll. I’m inspired but overwhelmed and somewhat doubtful. I feel like I’m back in 10th grade cramming in a writing assignment that is due the next day. Nothing seems good enough.
When my thoughts of introductory posts, layouts, colors, fonts, grammatical errors and images subside I am reminded of a very bold, slap-in-the-face truth from one of my favorite bloggers (Jenna Kutcher): Stay in your lane!
How are you going to be able to chase your dreams if you keep swerving into other lanes and causing nothing but chaos?! Don’t disqualify yourself by stepping into the next lane. It’s a daily battle against social media, society and even our own heart and mind to not measure our life to those around us. More often than not I catch myself idolizing the lives of those around me. You know what? All it does is steal my joy, cause me frustration, discontentment and distracts me from running my course. Why would I hinder myself like that? Just because your daily living and goal pursuing don’t include owning your own business or being teacher of the year doesn’t mean that your life is any more or less worthy.
What if we took the energy that we spent on comparing and used it to pursue our own dreams and encourage others to do the same? We all have different dreams and praise God for such beautiful variety! We were not made with a cookie cutter. Celebrate the differences and encourage each other, by golly! I would rather run side-by-side someone, cheering each other on than trying to stay ahead or trying to catch up. We all need a kick in the butt every once in a while to remember that God has placed us where we are, right here, right now and to not blur our dream lines with the next lane over. You have your own visions, style, opinion, goals and coffee drink of choice! Embrace them. Celebrate them. You can’t even shoot your own arrow while looking at someone else’s, let alone follow it. Fix your eyes on the Mastermind, embrace your own dream and haul butt after it.