Seven weeks ago we set out walking. We began in present day and went to the dawn of women with our mother, Eve. We visited with Elizabeth. Potipher’s wife conversed with us. We followed Deborah into battle and that led us to Jael. Rahab sparked our hearts to remembrance of our own conversions and burgeoning faith.
Six women. Six thousand years of history.
That is a lot of walking, and our journey has only just begun. How do you feel? I am amazed at how quickly the time has flown and how far we have come. More amazed at how far there is to go.
Six women and six thousand years and the surface only scratched.
Are you ready to continue?
Over the past few weeks, I have read and studied and pondered and prayed. I strapped on my walking shoes, grabbed my bottle of water, and headed on a journey that has changed my life. Is changing my life.
And that’s when I realized that this walking analogy goes so much further than I ever thought. What an excellent way to look at study, at living, at building faith!
The word “walk” pops up over one hundred times in the Bible. The Israelites walked through the desert for forty years. Christ walked to minister to His people.
Today, walking screams of “exercise”, grannies cruising the mall in wee hours of the morning, the least desirable method of transportation.
In Sunday School as children we learn about putting on the Armor of God. First the Breastplate of Righteousness and ending with the Sword of Truth. The boys race around, thinking themselves knights of God. The girls imagine themselves the next Joan of Arc. Who doesn’t like the picture of the cartoon kid wearing all the cool armor? That is a Bible analogy that kids can truly get behind!
Walking is fantastic exercise. No, not the evening stroll with your favourite canine pal, I mean a nice brisk walk. Get out there and get moving. Last summer I walked with a good friend of mine nearly three miles each evening. We got hot and sweaty, but felt great. We had time to fellowship with one another, something I would never take back. Winter came and we slacked off a bit, she walking on her treadmill and me using my new Gazelle courtesy of FreeCycle.
Or so we claimed. You know how that goes. You work hard for a week, maybe two. Then something happens and you skip Tuesday night. Then you are tired and you skip Thursday night. Before you know it, there is an inch of dust on your workout equipment and you lost the thrill of exercising.
How do you keep your fervor for walking going? By never stopping. Faith is the same way. If we are too tired today to read our Scriptures then we are too busy tomorrow and then… You see it happen all the time. Two, three, four months go by and the dust on your scriptures is just as high as on your treadmill.
To keep your faith strong, you need to work it. Faith is just as much a muscle as anything else. When ignored and starved, your faith begins to atrophy.
If you feel your faith in any stage of atrophy or you just want to continue to find a way to exercise it, read on.
You cannot leave your house barefoot. Well you can, but you might not make it far. The cement tends to freeze in the winter and bake in the summer. You need to avoid the broken glass and debris. No way that you look at it can one find a way to make it far barefoot. We are not talking a quick trip to the mailbox, we mean going the distance.
You need shoes.
Adidas, Nike, Vans? The name on the tag does not matter. Maybe you like the soles of Adidas or the width of the Nike or the breath-ability of Vans. Pick the pair the most comfortable on your feet and you will succeed. How does this translate into Scriptures? Translation is just the right word. Adidas, Nike, and Vans are like the translations of The Bible.
People gain different things from the different translations. In my home we own a stack of Bibles in a variety of translations. In my personal study I prefer The King James, but I also enjoy turning to the NIV and The Good News from time to time. You need to find the translation that fits your lifestyle. If you cannot get past “thee” and “thy” without scratching your head, get a newer translation. If you do not care for the newer translations and want to read the more formal language, KJV is the way to go. Something that will frustrate your reading is like wearing cheap shoes. Your toes get blistered, your heel rubs raw, and you give up for the pain.
You will not get far without shoes when walking just like you won’t get far without your Scriptures.
Hydration is key. You can walk for miles, but if you pass out at the very doorstep of your destination then your effort was for naught. When setting out, you need your water. When you think you do not need it, that is when you need it most. Your water is like your prayer. You can read about God all day long. You can read about Jesus all night long. You can fill your mind with the stories of the Bible but if you do nothing more, what have you gained?
Christ told the woman at the well that He could make her thirst no more. Turn to Him in prayer and drink from the well of Eternal Life.
Invest in a pedometer to track your progress. If you want to walk 10,000 steps a day or a certain number of miles, you need to know if you are meeting your goal. Using a good quality pedometer will allow for that. You can chart your progress each day to see if you come anywhere near your goals.
A journal can help you track your spiritual goals. When you record your thoughts and promptings, you can look back and see your progress. Looking at my journal over the past few weeks, I am amazed at the insights gained. Also, each time I read something in the Scriptures, I learn something new. By keeping a journal I can see the different things pulled out of each story, each verse. I can compare them and contrast them.
Perhaps you keep a detailed journal of thoughts and insights verse by verse or your journal is nothing more than a checklist of chapters read. Both hold the power to fill you with accomplishment.
You need good clothes when you work out. Shorts and a t-shirt will not work in winter usually. Tight clothes or nice clothes make you consider not giving your exercise everything you can. Your clothes are your actions. When you live in accordance with God’s teachings, you want to draw closer to Him. If you know your behaviour would disappoint Him, you shy away from things like prayer and reading. You spirit feels unworthy and you start to slide even further down a road you do not truly want to follow.
The sun blinds you, making you stumble or miss turns. You need sunglasses or a visor to protect your face from the harshness of the light. For once, light represents Satan. When he sets his sights on you, he will do anything in his power to leave you blind. He will work overtime just to see you stumble or take a wrong turn. You need to block his actions from affecting you. You need your very own visor or sunglasses. They shield you from temptation and Satan’s misguidance.
Some people like hats while others like shades. You need to discover what keeps you safe. One person I know says when temptation comes her way, she begins to hum a hymn. She continues to do so until the temptation passes. Another woman prays and another recites Bible verses from memory. There is no right or wrong answer here, just so long as you protect your eyes from the awful UV rays. Or in this case your soul from the temptation.
Once again, faith is like a muscle and needs you to work it each and every day. Treat it well and you can find joy. Treat it poorly and you will lose it.
How is your faith muscle doing today? What shoes do you wear? Do you get enough water to hydrate yourself? How is that pedometer working for you? Are you properly dressed for working out? Did you protect your eyes?
We need to stop, assess ourselves before we continue on our journey. The road reaches out before us, the end nowhere in sight. We need to prepare ourselves for the long road ahead.
I am personally trying to keep myself fit, treat my body well. Likewise I want to do the same for my faith and my spirit. You get to see me weekly working on the one, but not the other. I wanted to share all of this with you as a way to share both fitness goals.
Most people work towards a 5k when they run or walk. For Americans, 5k equals a little over three miles. It takes me about 40-45 minutes to walk that. It’s not a bad amount of walking, and seems less daunting when you look at it in terms of time.
I say forget the 5k. Let’s work towards 6k. After walking 3.1 miles, what’s another little bit to get to 3.7 miles? The six kilometers represents our six women already walking alongside of us as well as the six thousand years of human history. The Lord created this world in six days, so we can walk a mere six kilometers.
Start today. Start small, but start. When walking, think about how you are walking with women across the globe and across time. Allow your body to get fit in conjunction with your understanding of these wonderful women and your faith.
I plan to work on my personal 6k. I want to take Walking With Women on the road. Walk in the various charity walks around my area. So many good charities host walks and they are very rewarding.
Next week we meet a new woman. She joins us on our walk and we welcome her. Let us make sure that we are fully prepared to met her.
Strap on your shoes and walk with me.
*Stay tuned next week when we get back on track with more learning about more women!*
Originally posted on ladyozma.vox.com