Thursday, August 29, 2013
These Boots Were Made for Walking
"I instruct you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble. Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life." - Proverbs 4:11-13
My daughter Emma is a figure skater. She loves nothing better than being on the ice. Feeling the air rush past her face as she skates. It's her happy place, her solace, her creative space where she can fly. She has a passion for the sport that can only be described as God-given.
Which is probably a really good thing considering how it's gone for her the past couple of months.
She'd been falling. A lot.
And in case you're not familiar, ice is hard. And cold. And unforgiving.
Emma had been skating in the same boots for almost a year, 4 -5 days a week, jumping, spinning, turning, gliding across her frozen home away from home. Those boots had seen her earn gold and seen her come in dead last. They worked with her to create beauty and precision and skill. They were warriors for her as she fought to learn new steps, new movements, new combinations. They were comfortable and familiar and like an old friend, cherished for where they had taken her.
But as good as those boots were they are leather, after all, and they had begun to break down so badly she had no support left in them.
So she would hit the ice, literally, day after day, too stubborn to admit that she needed new ones.
For a skater, breaking in a new pair of boots is a process. A painful process.
New boots are stiff. They have no give, no sweet spots that are perfectly molded to your movements and feet.
So even though she already had a new pair of skates. Beautiful, amazing skates that were gifted to her by one of her coaches, she was as stubborn as those new boots about breaking them in.
Until she just couldn't take it anymore.
One fall too many landed her in the ER and she was on crutches for a few days.
Hard to skate when you're on crutches.
As I was thinking about those boots this morning it occurred to me that they represent our faith journey at times.
Walking our journey with God each day is a process of learning and growing and failing and repenting and growing again. Each lesson, each step building upon the other.
We walk some days in perfect harmony with the God of the universe. Knowing without a doubt that He is right there with us, leading, guiding, loving. Filling us with the truth of His grace and mercy. Showing us the path he's carved for us and equipping us to walk it with sturdy boots that support us and allow us to fulfill the plans He's made.
And then there are days that we walk away. Choosing instead a more difficult road full of rocks and bumps and ditches and steep trails.
One that starts to break down our boots.
We begin to notice that we're stumbling more often. Tripping over the rocks. Turning our ankles as we walk further and further away from the truth we know. And we get angry when we fall, skinning our knees and bruising our hips, until we end up on crutches, wondering what happened.
Where did God go? He was supposed to be our support, our strength, our guide away from the rocky ground.
We look up from our crumpled heap and see that He's right there, holding out His hand to lead us back to the path He's chosen.
And as long as we stay on it, our boots support us and give us strength and courage to keep walking with Him.
As time passes we eventually wear them out. Through many twists and turns and joys and tears, we've walked with God and away from God and right back to Him again and again and again.
And God is ever faithful.
At each stage of our faith journey, He gives us fresh, shiny new boots to wear. Boots that will support us as we grow and learn and fail and repent and grow some more.
As we walk in them, we find those sweet spots that can only come from many miles walking with Him. Those special, quiet places where we know He can be found with every step we take.
Like a figure skater who continues to build on their knowledge and experience every time they take the ice, enjoying the sweet spots in their boots; we build upon our knowledge of God every day we continue our walk with Him. Learning something new and fresh and beautiful that allows us to feel His freedom rush past our faces as we travel.
Where are your boots taking you today?
With a Courageous heart,