Growing Roots ~ Week 33
Bubba and I went for a run this Saturday morning. This is nothing new; in fact, it has become a routine part of our Saturday mornings. Throughout the summer, Bubba and I would run 2-3 times each week, along with biking and other fitness programs. But this week, he was dealing with seasonal allergies and didn’t have the ability to breathe or run as well as he normally does. But he still put forth the effort and did it even though he walked quite a bit more than usual.
He needed some extra breaks, extra support, extra encouragement, and more stamina. He needed to know it was ok to walk but also needed encouragement to keep on moving. He needed more defined goals and standards. While he and I both “ran” for the same amount of time, he did 2.0 miles and I was able to do 2.82 miles since I kept running while he walked. We both accomplished our goals and were proud of our efforts and results.
As we were running, I was thinking about my week and all that God has done in and through me this week.
This was the first full week of being back to school so it was the first full week of new routines, new groups for me. My WOW (group met again and shared what God taught us over the summer months. My ladies’ Bible study group from church met again and dug deeply into the book of James, being vulnerable and sharing our struggles and victories with each other. Our group is growing in numbers and I can see the bonds strengthening and our spiritual walks being challenged. My young women’s Facebook Bible study group also started meeting this week.
One theme was constant this week: we all know that we need to truly study the Bible for ourselves. We know we need to be in the Word each day and not when sitting in church.
But it seems like we all have the same struggles: time, confidence, and strategy. The book that my young women’s group is reading (“Women of the Word” by Jen Wilkin) will give us a strategy which will hopefully build our confidence. (Simply Color is another great strategy that I recommend). But ultimately, it’s up to US to apply the strategy and practice to gain confidence. We have to make STUDYING God’s Word a priority, just like going to work, feeding out families, cleaning our house.
Life is a journey, not a destination. Our final destination is heaven and we are to use THIS life to prepare for heaven. If we are going to spend eternity with God, then we should have the desire to learn all we can about Him while we are on earth. He told us all about Himself in the Bible. Therefore, we need to STUDY the Bible to learn more about Him.
We’ve each been living our lives a certain way for a while. We have our routines, methods, and ideologies. We all read our Bibles or pray or fellowship in certain habitual ways. While these ways aren’t inherently “bad” or “wrong”, they may not be the best way anymore or the most effective ways.
Just like changing our schedules isn’t easy, changing our lifestyle is not going to be easy.
Whether you’re wanting to get healthier physically, emotionally, socially, financially, spiritually, or mentally, it takes EFFORT at first to break bad habits and establish new ones. It takes DEDICATION especially when life gets rushed or hectic or hard or frustrating or discouraging.
The key is to not give up.
During our run on Saturday morning, I began to run separated from Bubba. He ran at his pace and I ran at my pace. The same is true with our spiritual life (and life in general). We may be tempted to try to do what others’ are doing or not doing. But we need to remember to go at our own pace. Don’t let someone else determine your pace. Don’t let them push you and don’t let them hold you back. You may chase some people ahead of you and you may pass others…AND THAT’S OK!!
While we were running separately, he was still in my line of sight, I couldn’t talk to him, so I talked to God and just thought. I began to wonder if growing up in the church with sound doctrine can be a blessing AND a curse. The reasons for the blessing are obvious. But maybe it’s a curse because we can easily become lazy and not study the Bible for ourselves but just believe whatever the preacher says. We don’t challenge ourselves to truly study the Word for comprehension and application but instead rely on others to spoon feed us. We may not verify what they say as truth but simply believe it because of their reputation or out of habit.
As I’ve met with the various groups this week, I’ve come to realize (again) that we are all on our own spiritual journey and we can’t compare our spiritual walks with others, just as I couldn’t compare my distance with Bubba’s when running on Saturday. As long as we are putting forth effort, doing our best, and JUST KEEP MOVING, we need to be proud of our efforts and not give up! Perhaps we need to run alongside others, giving them extra encouragement when life gets them down. Maybe we need to help them set more defined goals that are achievable for them even if they are unrealistic for ourselves. Offering extra support in the form of cards, texts, visits, meals, prayers, etc, may be just what they need to keep going and not give up!
As we head into a new week, we will have new opportunities to help others and seek God’s face. We will be presented with new challenges and experience new victories. We will face discouragement, joy, peace, and frustration. We may be tempted to sprint ahead or we may feel like stopping and sitting down. God may put people in our paths to encourage us, tempt us, or distract us. We may be able to minister to others or we may need someone to minister to us.
When we remember that LIFE IS A JOURNEY and just KEEP ON MOVING, we will see progress. This is true in all areas of our lives: spiritual, physical, mental, financial, emotional, social, etc. As we round the curve in the journey, let’s keep our eyes focused on Jesus, asking Him to guide us and strengthen us as we strive toward our destination: Heaven.
JUST KEEP MOVING!!