Spits and spurts

By now you all know I am a little bit of a "people watcher" - I look at their walk, posture, facial expressions, position they take in a crowd, and even where they put their hands. Why? These 'tell a story' about the person and where they are emotionally, physically, and even perhaps spiritually. You soon realize there are many "styles" of walking. Some take slow, meandering steps, not appearing to have a care in the world - but is that an accurate picture? Others walk at an "all-out" pace you'd imagine a marathon runner to require - in a hurry to get somewhere, catch up with someone, or just challenge their body. Still others seem to "strut there stuff" as they swagger along - perhaps thinking their 'image' of 'being cool' or 'standing out' matters more than what is on the inside. Believe it or not, our "gait" tells a whole lot about what is going on in a person's entire body. 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. It could also mean you are a little under the weather, depressed, or feeling overwhelmed by life! The physician observes for limps - knowing a limp on one side of the body affects so much of what is happening 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 provider to consider the effects of muscular dystrophy. Amazing isn't it - one simple action telling so much detail! I wonder what our 'spiritual walk' displays about us - are we under attack, or perhaps enduring so much pain in one area of our life it begins to affect all the other areas? We all have a 'tell' in our 'walk', don't we?

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

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. 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, while others are hopelessly lost all of the time!  It is like the one with the 'gift' of direction possesses some kind of "internal radar" that gets them anywhere, in the shortest distance possible, without having to stop to ask directions or seek help along the way. 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 those of us that are "direction-challenged" seem a little bit awkward or 'behind the eight ball', huh? They make most of us quite "jealous" in a kind of "spiritual" sense of jealousy (if there ever was one of those).

What is it about some folks - they just KNOW where to go, what to do, who will be their support, the way to respond to challenges that come their way? 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 - they are stable, secure, and pretty doggone 'well-off' in a spiritual sense. If you know me well enough, you realize I suffered from serious osteoarthritis in my joints, have pain most days, and sometimes can't get comfortable enough to sleep because of the aches. 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 thing mastered. On most days, my limp is obvious to even the blind person because they can hear the difference in my step! My gait betrays the pain! Equally so, our spiritual gait betrays a great deal about us. Our walk betrays so 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 - kind of "Limp Free". On most days, our spiritual "limp" is pretty evident, isn't it? I can do a whole lot to "try" to convince myself, and others, that I am not in pain - emotionally, physically, or spiritually. As much as I try, the truth betrays itself in my "walk". 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 really very spastic in nature. That's okay! God can work with our 'imperfect gait'! It could be like the shuffling feet of one suffering from a neurological deficit such as Parkinson's. That's okay! God can work with us when 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 yet, but we are learning to. 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! Just sayin!

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