Walking the Earth

Today I walked the earth. Rather, it walked me.

Normally I run it, but a ferocious northwest wind coupled with last Saturday’s face plant at the Great Outdoor Provision Company (I’m not kidding) necessitated my compliance. Two years ago, I severely injured my ankle while out running. It would take a long season of healing before I would, once again, feel the earth beneath my pace.

I was reminded of that today. And while my ankle and my pride have survived the embarrassment of an awkward fall, I felt a twinge of reminder as I took to the road. My ankle would have absorbed the weight of a mild jog, but when I felt the added resistance of a tempestuous wind, I decided to give myself a break.

And here’s what I’m thinking…

Some days we get a pass, friends. Some days it’s better to walk it then to run it. Some days … some seasons … in our lives are so full of some “stuff”—some good and some not so—that it seems wiser to walk the race rather than to run through our paces with the maddening intent of a fast finish.

Are you with me?

I’m a fast finisher. Always have been. Get to it, get it finished, and then get on with the moving on. Thus, when life interjects the wisdom of a slower cadence, I’m quick to walk my way around it; at least until I’m forced to bow before it.

Two years ago, I bowed. My running wasn’t an option. Today I did the same; this time, however, not because I had to but rather because I’ve seen the beauty of what an intentional slow-down can bring. Today I walked out of my “want to” rather than my “have to,” and in doing so, received the gift of sacred perspective.

As Christians, we are well-familiar with the Apostle Paul’s spiritual metaphor of “running the race.” It’s a pulpit favorite, a devotional favorite, and one in which I’m sure I’ve interjected my own two-cent’s worth. A worthy word because, indeed, you and I have been given a spiritual journey that is worthy of a heart’s best efforts at completion. Accordingly, we should take to the road with all the truth and confidence of heaven to back us as we go.

Some days the course runs smoothly. Some days the wind runs at our back, buoying our steps and moving us in fast progression to the next corner. But then there are those other days. Days that run ragged. Days that take our breath away and that force our sweat and determination at a level that begs to differ. Days when the wind engages our steps with a frontal assault and with the ferocious fury of hell’s intention. Rather than finding our stride, we fight to stay upright and in forward motion.

It’s all we can do to walk it through … sometimes even finding our crawl to make it through. I know. I’ve got the calloused knees to prove it. I boast the swollen fragments of a hard fought faith that has, at times, sought to get the best of me, but in the end, has acquiesced to the least of me. The tiny, mustard-seed part of me that was willing to hang on and to push through because I understand that this is the journey that I’ve been given to complete.

No one else will finish it for me. It’s mine to pilgrim. You’ve been handed your own to walk.

Accordingly, it’s good to know that some days (when we need it the most) we get a pass to walk it through with all the patience and beauty of a slow-going, yet forward moving faith that will eventually land us at the end of the road. Whether we run it, walk it, or crawl it through to the finish, all of us will come to that end.

When we do, we’ll have the beauty of a backwards’ glance that validates the steps taken to get there. It won’t matter how they paced; what will matter is how they finish. And as for me and my heart, I’m after a “well-done”—an “all is well that end’s well” because my life was lived well … with intention and on purpose.

Today, I walked the earth. In turn, it walked all over me, and the sacred perspective that was birthed between the two is enough to warrant my continuing trust for the road ahead. How I pray for the willing strength to keep pace with a gracious and willing God who has allowed me my footprints upon his earthen sod at such a time as this. Yours too.

Ours are the intended footprints of a perfected plan—an extraordinary gift of everlasting proportion. Thus I pray…

Let the markings of my feet, Father, be a trail of faith for others to follow in the days to come. Strengthen my feeble frame for the straight and the narrow path and keep me to that path all the days of my life. When I run, when I walk, when I stumble, and when I crawl, may the wind of your Spirit be with me to push me forward with all the dignity and grace of heaven’s acclaim. I cannot finish well without you, Lord. Keep me mindful of my need. Keep me humble all the more. I’m coming home to you. Pace my steps accordingly.

In the name of the Father loves me, the Son who carved the path for me, and the Spirit who is faithful to follow after me and to fill me with the truth and strength of my forever, Amen and Amen.


Copyright © April 2009 – Elaine Olsen

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PS: I want to direct you over to an incredible post I read this afternoon at Jennifer’s “Getting Down with Jesus” blog. She’s new to me, a fabulous writer, and has a great story to share with us about waking up the earth. I loved it for so many reasons. Check it out when you have time. Shalom.

26 Responses to Walking the Earth

  1. Elaine – as I get off line from working I wanted to read one blog before I retired and I felt pulled toward yours. Aww refreshing as I read. I was especially moved by:

    “…I cannot finish well without you, Lord. Keep me mindful of my need. Keep me humble all the more. I’m coming home to you. Pace my steps accordingly.

    In the name of the Father loves me, the Son who carved the path for me, and the Spirit who is faithful to follow after me and to fill me with the truth and strength of my forever, Amen and Amen.”

    Praise the LORD and thank you for leaving me with something to ponder and pray on as I go to bed.

    Love you dear friend.

  2. I am often pushed into the slower pace of which you speak. My ankle, too, slowed me down about 4 years ago. That ordeal is over, but I still deal with some things that give me slow days. These are things not completely understood by my finite mind. So, I just have to trust the Creator of my days, hours, minutes, etc.

    Thank you for sharing. As always, I come away from your posts feeling uplifted and challenged. Many blessings, Elaine. You’re a great friend and woman of God.

  3. Elaine, Thank you for your encouragement and kind words. You have blessed me tonight. I am humbled and so grateful.

    Now to this post. Taking this in still … I have grown accustomed to showing up here in the last few weeks now, because I know God speaks here, and I was once again blessed in deep places by your story of Walking the Earth. God has given you ears to hear, eyes to see, and voice to share.

    Thank you for responding to His gifts — by sharing them with us.

  4. This was a great post. I thought it was interesting that you talked about walking the earth on Earth Day.

    I totally agree with your thoughts that sometimes we run and sometimes we get a pass and walk. The key is knowing what season we are in so that we won’t try to be running when we are supposed to be walking and vice versa.

    Have a great day!

  5. Elaine,
    As usual, you’ve written beautifully and touched my heart.

    I can relate to a “slower place.” About a year ago I injured my elbow playing tennis. I had to give up tennis which was a big physical and social part of my of life. I’m still not better and see no end in sight. But I have had to accept this slower pace, this change of plans and listen to what God has to say to me in this place.

    I, too, am on my way to bed and you’ve given me good thoughts to ponder.

    Blessings, my friend,

  6. Elaine, I sure appreciate your post. The Lord has been leading me towards rest time and again over the past few months — probably because of the extra demand we had with Don’s mom for a few months.

    Even as things have gotten more back to normal for us, I still feel His leading towards rest. Maybe so we’ll be more rested for the next season of increased demand when it hits… I pray that I can walk the pace He wants me to walk, even when I’m pulled by a multitude of things that try to demand more from me.

    Blessings, friend!

  7. I am swiftly fast at most things I do, until Emily stopped me cold in my shoes one day. She was only three years old……and she prefaced everything she said with “mommy really quick I want to tell you something”..I asked her why she said that and she said that you are always so fast and moving or something like that she felt if she had to speak it had to be fast. That day my life slowed way down. Great words of wisdom today.

  8. Many times I find myself fighting against the wind and ending up frustrated, exhausted and weakened. All I needed to do is change my direction letting the wind at my back push me farther than I ever imagined.

    I, too, love to run but have been sidetracked almost a year from an injury. It has been a slow go getting back into the routine. I hope that soon I can enjoy those moments when foot meets earth. I always feel better after a run.

  9. Elaine,

    Can you imagine what walking Heaven will be like?

    You always stir thoughts within me for my Savior.


  10. Elaine, I have lived most of my life as an efficient, instant-gratification-loving, fast finisher, but I’ve found that in recent years, the Lord is purposefully slowing me down.

    Even this week as I count down the days since my last blog post, my flesh chafes and wants to write for the sake of writing, but my heart and spirit resist … waiting on Him, listening for Him, learning from Him. I don’t want to miss the proverbial forest for the trees, so I try to ignore my flesh and indulge in the still respite that the Lord graciously provides.

    And, where He leads, I’ll walk. When He leads, I’ll write. Until then, I rest in the shadow of His wings.

    (By the way, thanks so much for checking on me! I was out of the state for 10 days … with an unreliable internet connection! And, well, I guess my comment above explains the rest. So grateful to know that a dear cyber-sister is looking out for me!) 🙂

  11. What a wonderful reminder of the need to pace ourselves – and the permission to do so! Blessings to you, my friend!

  12. Have been injured sooooooo many times in the running. This is anointed, friend. Love your heart.

  13. wifeforthejourney:

    I have all to often found my own walking of my faith an awkward and uneven gate. Even when we stumble and fall, God is there to lift us up. Even in those times when I’ve fallen and stayed down, in pain or shame or both, He has never left me. Thanks for your own witness of God’s grace to me. No matter your posture, I know you are faithful.


  14. Oh Elaine, the truth within this post is awesome and the prayer is so right for me. So I know you don’t mind that I have barrowed it to speak my heart to my God today. Thank you friend.

    In His Graces~Pamela

  15. These words are both beautiful and powerful. Some days it is really a challenge to keep the faith. I so often forget, but our pastor pointed out in his message on Sunday the importance of praising during the challenges, hurt and pain. That is my goal! You thoughts are always a blessing to me.

  16. Great analogy as always. I am glad to hear your WIP is almost there! have heart– God will do with it what He will–you just need to be obedient like you are doing. :))

  17. Elaine, I’ve seen your sweet responses at other blogs and have just stopped by for a most delightful visit. The Lord has given you such a wonderful gift to communicate through your writing. As a sister who has experienced ankle injuries, I was blessed by your words and your prayer. Amen dear one, amen.

  18. So much of my journey feels like a ‘crawl’ right now…even at times more like a ‘standing still’, but I remain facing the right direction. Times when surviving alone is the great success. Beth Moore writes, “Sometimes life is so atrocious that surviving is its own great achievement and a strange proof of sorts that God must exist.”

    Have you ever considered surviving in itself a crowning achievement? Right now I am. Daily getting up and continuing on a hard road is an accomplishment. I may not be running, or even walking, but I’ve positioned myself in the right direction.

    Keeping my eyes on Him,

  19. Hey Elaine…
    I need to apologize for taking so long getting your gift to you. I have been without a computer… my son was in an accident and hospitalized for several days… and your mailing address was lost in the old computer. Please send it to me again… Forgive me.

  20. I can relate to being a “fast finisher”. Thanks for the encouraging post. As I write, I have 4 sick little boys, a 9 year old cousin with cancer, a battle with depression, etc. But there is grace to walk through it with the Lord isn’t there?

    I love your picture. Come and participate in my bloggy photography contest. 🙂

    Praise the Lord today!

  21. Hey Mrs. Elaine:) I do love those verses. My pastor did a sermon once on those verses and said that the race is more like an obstacle course, and we each get our own. The objective is not to compare our obstacle courses to each others, but to finish our own. No matter what the obstacle course holds for us. It is a necessary race that will require perseverance. Lord, help us all!


  22. Truth for my heart! I have been on a whirlwind the past month. Now, things are somewhat slowing down. Of course my slowing down… is much slower than others… but I get fed there… I get rest… I sit “under the broom tree”… I become peaceful… and then… only then… am I allowed to minister… once again.

    I’ve missed stopping by here… thanks for the rest!

  23. Dear Elaine,
    This was beautifully written. I Love you analogy. My life has been in a turmoil lately and this is a refresher.

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