I have a habit, when walking, of picking a route and not entertaining detours, slowing down, taking breaks, or turning back. Once I start walking, I just keep walking, just keep walking, just keep walking, walking walking. All I do is walk, walk, walk!
Ridgecrest, California is a quiet, sleepy, peaceful town. It's a great place for walkers and joggers, especially where my sister lives. I went on almost daily walks while I was visiting her and was constantly second-guessing myself. Should I turn onto a side street? Should I pause at this spot and sit down for a bit? Should I double back and walk in the opposite direction?
On one of my walks, I was ruminating on my walking habit and why it was so difficult for me to slow down, pause, take a break, or divert from my plans. As I neared a place where I felt I could stop and write, I decided to keep moving forward instead. After taking a few steps I stopped walking because I felt very strongly that I should go back. I returned to the small play area - complete with a bench for resting and a spectacular view of the Sierra Mountains. And once I sat, I was able to think clearly.
Moving forward is a dynamic process
In life, moving forward in any sensible way often means taking different turns or turning back when you've taken a wrong turn. If you're a Christian, you also have to ensure that you're listening to God's direction and not following your own, especially if He's telling you to take a path that does not look favourable to you.
Moving forward requires careful consideration
"Consider your ways!" The prophet Haggai says to the people of Judah while they toiled fruitlessly and neglected their spiritual duties (Haggai chapter 1, verses 5-9). They were so concerned about their own needs and concerns that they neglected the Lord's needs and concerns. They had tunnel vision and nothing else could intrude even while none of their efforts bore fruit.
But why should we consider our ways?
Considering requires reflecting and thinking carefully about something. It requires pausing as you walk through life, looking down at where you are, looking back at where you've come from, and looking ahead to where you think you're going.
It can also mean considering your behavior. How do you treat people? How do you treat yourself? How do you treat God?
Or maybe it means considering your ambitions. What are you focusing on? What are you working towards? Are you working towards anything? Are you achieving it?
What about considering your thoughts? What are you thinking about? What occupies your mental space? Are they profitable thoughts?
For the Christian, it involves asking God: "Am I following You? Am I following at Your pace and in Your way? Am I too distracted to know Your way? Am I seeking Your Kingdom first or am I pursuing the other things that need to be added to me?
'Consider your ways' requires careful examination of self and guidance in truth. It requires humility and patience. It requires quiet, to think and pray and reflect. It requires a significant change of pace so that you can hear and discern and understand.
And then it requires movement.
Republished from Christian Today UK.