Monday, April 30, 2012

Hey, you limping?

If you have ever engaged in the pastime of people-watching, you soon realize there are many "styles" of walking.   Some take slow, meandering steps, not appearing to have a care in the world.  Others walk at an "all-out" pace you'd imagine a marathon runner to require.  Still others seem to "strut there stuff" as they swagger along.  As any physical therapist will tell you, your "gait" tells a whole lot about what is going on in a person's entire body.  For example, if you shuffle a lot when you walk, it could be an indication of a lack of muscle strength, or perhaps a neurological deficit which is keeping the person from performing the normal "heel-strike" type gait.  The therapist observes for limps - knowing a limp on one side of the body affects so much on the other - called an antalgic gait (you are protecting one side with the work of the other).  A waddling or duck-like gait might cue the therapist to consider the effects of muscular dystrophy.  Amazing isn't it - one simple action telling so much detail!

Fools on the road have no sense of direction.  The way they walk tells the story:  "There goes the fool again!"  (Ecclesiastes 10:3 The Message)

Did you ever consider the "fool" as having a particular "walk"?  Even their "steps" manage to display so much about them!  Their "gait" is one without direction - they may start out well, but soon veer off course and across rough terrain in no time.  Guess what?  We all have a "gait" in a spiritual sense - a walk of sorts which reveals much about us.

A sense of direction is something many just seem to be "gifted" to have, huh?  It is like they possess some kind of "radar" which gets them anywhere, in the shortest distance possible, without having to stop to ask directions. When it comes to "spiritual radar", these kind of people seem to walk without any real sense of trouble, lack of faith, or seeming effort in obedience.  They make most of us quite "jealous" in a kind of "spiritual" sense of jealousy (if there was one).

What is it about some folks - they just KNOW where to go, what to do, who will be their support, etc.?  It is like they have an "insiders" track on life.  No wonder we have a tendency to envy their seeming "ease" at walking out this Christian experience.  If you know me well enough, you realize I suffer from serious osteo-arthritis in my right knee.  On a good day, I can "clean up" my gait, walking with only a slight limp - almost able to fool anyone into thinking I've got this pain mastered.  On most days, my limp is obvious to even the blind!  My gait betrays the pain I experience with each step!

Believe it or not, our walk betrays much about what is really on the inside of each of us - the condition of our heart, our minds, and our emotions.  On a good day, we can seemingly walk without much effort - "Limp Free".  On most days, our "limp" is pretty evident, isn't it?  The truth is, I can do a whole lot to "try" to convince myself, and others, that I am not in pain.  As much as I try, the truth betrays itself in my "walk".  The same is true in our spiritual lives, my friends.  Our walk betrays the condition of our heart, mind, and emotions!

I have learned to be an observer of the "walk" of others - simply because it tells me so much about the other person.  Some say the eyes are the window to the soul.  I'd have to say your walk is the true "betrayer" of what is really going on inside!  It is hard to mask an "imperfect" gait in the physical sense - it is even harder to do it in a spiritual one!

So, I wonder if you've ever considered what your "spiritual gait" says about the condition of your spiritual life.  It may be filled with all kinds of "halting" steps - spurts and starts, but just kind of spastic in nature.  That's okay!  God can work with it!  It could be like the shuffling feet of one suffering from a neuroligical deficit such as Parkinson's.  Why do we shuffle?  It may be because we are just not "sure" of our step any longer and need to stay as close to "grounded" as we can in our uncertainty.  We haven't learned to trust God enough to take the bigger, wider steps which resemble a steady and sure walk.

Regardless of our "spiritual gait" - God can work with it!  The fact is - we are walking!  It is the fool who never realizes the inefficiencies of his gait!  It is truly a wise one who realizes the "faltering" of their steps and turns to the one who can help!