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.
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.