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Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Faith Lesson of Walking Backwards

Drum roll!!!!! Ta Da...the winner of Kathi Lipp's book Praying God's Word for Your Life is....Heather! Congratulations, Heather. I know you'll love this book. To everyone else who put their name in the drawing, thank you so much for doing that. I know you'll want to order your own copy of Kathi's book.

Most mornings as I return home from our little neighborhood gym, I try something I saw my neighbor doing: walking backwards. I was surprised how it used different muscles. The problem is: I'm walking backwards. Guess what? You can't see what's behind you. 

So I usually only start walking backwards when I can see that there is nothing to crash into for a while. Here's a photo of my neighborhood a few days ago. As you can tell, there's nothing on the street. No cars. No bicycle some child left in the street. No truck of a repairman. Nothing. Clear. No danger, right?

Then why when I turned around and began walking backwards, did I feel compelled to keep looking over my shoulder? And why, in my mind's eye, did I envision hitting something? And why did my body anticipate bumping into something and as a result, I felt tense? 

I can even keep telling myself, "You just saw with your own eyes a few seconds ago that nothing is on the street, why are you afraid? Why can't you remember that?"

When this happened the first time, I immediately thought, "That is how faith is. I think I have put my faith in God's faithfulness (or whatever), and then fear overwhelms me. You most likely won't be surprised when I now quote Hebrews 11:1: "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." Except in this case, I saw the truth with my own eyes, but my fear keeps envisioning something dangerous. 

Walking backwards for awhile on my street has been a good faith lesson. It reminds me that just as I need to keep telling myself, "The truth is, there is nothing dangerous on this street," I need to keep telling myself the truth about my walk with Christ:
"You're feeling fearful of bad things happening, but Jesus promises to redeem for good everything that happens to you" (Romans 8:28).
"You're feeling inadequate for God's open doors, but Jesus promises I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength" (Phil. 4:13).
"You're feeling rejected by that person, but Jesus will never reject me" (Eph. 3:18-19).

Can you relate? In our mind's eye we envision bad things that can't be redeemed, inadequacy that is embarrassing, and rejection that reminds me I really have no value. And the list could go on, depending upon each of our own unique faith struggles. But we need to keep telling ourselves the truth! Over and over again.

Tomorrow morning when I walk home—backwards—I'm going to force myself to not look over my shoulder. I'm going to use it as a faith exercise. 

What could you resist doing that means you're reacting without faith? What is the truth for you to tell yourself?

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