I love to walk/hike. Prior to the flu, I was walking 5 miles/3-4 times a week. In flu recovery, with stamina not quite there yet, since this past Monday I have walked around my block, adding one time around each day. 3 1/2 times around is one mile. Today I was on day 7, so 7 times around. Two miles and I was exhausted yet what a sense of accomplishment.
Locally where I live it is basically walking as the terrain is fairly flat in addition to city sidewalk walking. With a bit of travel, the terrain becomes hilly/mountainous and hiking offers more of a physical challenge along with awesome views and fun.
Walking/hiking is exercise but beyond that it is a time of fellowship and fantastic conversation when I have my husband or a friend walking with me. Alone, I sometimes plug in my earbuds attached to my smartphone and listen to a message Ligonier.org is one of my main go tos, and they also have an app that I have on my phone. Sometimes I walk with nothing other than the act of walking, focused even more fully on what I am seeing. Unless the weather is completely prohibitive, I walk outside, for so many reasons, the main one is how wonderful it feels feeling outdoor air on my face, even when it is cold (I can bundle up) and even when it is hot (I walk early mornings then before the heat becomes oppressive.)
In advance I mentally create a route so I know where I am going, what I am doing, and sometimes even a hint of what I will see. So many directions I can go in, but I am looking for one consistent path. A safe one, yet sometimes a challenging one. When I get tired, shortcuts are tempting. I stay the course because there is a reward for me in walking a certain amount, physically and also emotionally. It is also exciting, in the movement, in what I see, feeling the outside air on my face, and in the awesome sense of accomplishment. Perfect, no. I cannot profess to have the ideal posture and pace every moment of every single walk I take.
I walk because I love it and I walk even more so because of how it enriches my life. However if I focus on the act of walking, I get tired, bored, every step becomes drudgery. The temptation to take shortcuts or stray from the path or becomes more tempting.
Spiritual parallel? Of course. Isaiah 30:21 And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying “This is the way you should go, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. In salvation, God sets us on a path as we walk through life, ways in which the different areas of our life will honor Him, glorify Him and while it may not always feel like it, it will also enrich our life. His goal for us is for us to walk out experientially the new identity that became ours positionally the moment of our salvation.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10
God has a plan for me. He has a purpose for me. He has a path for me to walk on. It is so exciting! And God has the same for you!
However, just like my walking hobby, if I focus on what I have to do, basically if I focus on myself and my own stuff, my journey in life with God becomes drudgery, legalistic, rule based, tiring, crushing. When I focus on the Creator of my path, whether the path I am physically walking on, or the path my life is on in every facet, it becomes so doable, rewarding, sometimes tiring, sometimes difficult, sometimes painful, never perfect, but always miraculous, incredible, beautiful and exciting. To God be the glory!