Our time in Mexico was coming to an end and this was one of our last beach walks. The wind at my back was refreshing. It also caused a problem I hadn’t anticipated as sand and shell fragments blew into my sandals from behind.
When this became uncomfortable I would stop, remove the sandal and shake out the offending debris. The frustration at being slowed down was tempered by the knowledge my foot wasn’t getting sore.
A piece of dry sea grass blew in and got trapped under my arch. This wasn’t as irritating as the sand or shells but I didn’t like the feeling of it flapping around. I started to lift my foot from the sandal bed and the grass blew right through and disappeared. There was no need to remove the footwear; I just had to get out of the way.
The life analogy struck me immediately. Sometimes troubles and inconveniences hit, slowing me down or making me uncomfortable. I often hold onto these longer than necessary, causing prolonged frustration and annoyance.
Other times, the problem was never supposed to be mine. I simply got in the way and didn’t allow it to pass by. Instead of moving aside to let it go, I trapped it and held on. This was not how it was supposed to be.
I remember a picture I once had on my fridge. One character said, “I’ve come to realize the only thing holding me back is me.” The other replied, “And a mighty fine job you’re doing of it.”
I don’t want to be the one holding me back from the life I desire. Maybe the next time trouble hits I will do something different and step out of the way to let it blow right on by.
I had just returned from a walk along a tropical beach. This is not a groomed for tourists beach, but one in its natural state.
For this reason I needed to watch my step. Small fishing boats are held by ropes secured on the shore. The rope may be flat on the sand and not easy to see. The breeze tosses the boat, the rope becomes taught, and if I’m in the process of stepping over it, I may be tripped.
There are also remains of sand bags protruding from the sand. Some are easy to see and others are mostly buried. I have stumbled on the torn edges barely visible above the sand but have also been caught by the ones clearly visible.
It’s one thing to be tripped by an obstacle I can’t see and quite another to see the potential problem and still get caught.
I was thinking about being aware of my surroundings and watching my step when I realized this same attitude would serve me well in life. It’s when I become overconfident in my own abilities I tend to trip.
On our walks, my husband often tells me, “Watch your step.” His guidance has helped to keep me from harm.
In my life I rely on Jesus to guide me. He watches my steps. When my attention is elsewhere he catches me when I stumble and sets my feet firmly beneath me once again.
though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand. (Psalm 37:24 NIV)
Walks are wonderful for exercise and relaxation but sometimes I gain much more than that from them.
My husband and I set out for a walk on a hot summer afternoon. First we strolled along a peaceful path by a lake. Then we crossed through a field of clover where the only sound was the buzzing of the bees as they gathered the sweet nectar.
The scorching sun beat down on us relentlessly and we looked forward to the shade of the treed path ahead.
We soon reached the trees and were refreshed by the light breeze. Suddenly there was a swarm of tiny insects around us. I kept my gaze on the ground, afraid if I looked up, these insects would be inhaled. Although we passed through them quickly, there were several more swarms to be encountered as we continued.
One of the things I learned from this experience was that things are not always as idyllic as they appear from a distance. Many situations look perfect until I experience them first hand. The grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence!
Another lesson for me was to focus on the positive. There were some minor inconveniences on my walk but they didn’t dampen my appreciation for spending time in nature on a glorious summer day.
I need to remember that the Lord faithfully provides for me every day. His mercies are never ending and my gratitude to him should reflect that.
The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. Lamentations 3:22-23 (NLT)