Confession: I’ve never been “big” on shoes. (I picture well-shod women everywhere gasping.) Shoes are utilitarian things to me; as a child, I couldn’t wait for school to be over so I could shed the clunky things. And growing up in sunny Southern California, shoelessness was not only acceptable but common. As a result, I developed a lazy walk, an easy stride, knowing the ground beneath me would always be warm and dry. Then I went off to college in Indiana.

Walking on ice and snow was a disaster for me. I fell constantly, my legs sliding out from under me in a flail of limbs that led to bruised tailbones and broken toes. I simply could not figure out how to navigate slick surfaces. I watched my friends. They walked more deliberately than I did, with a purpose. Growing up in the Midwest had informed their walking style. Dumb little sunbunnies like me were left behind.

Eventually I discovered how to pick my way through snow and ice. I had to, living in Kansas. I make my steps firm, a march-step. To make up for my shorter strides, I tell myself to keep moving. March, march!

So it is in our spiritual lives. When all is going well, we breeze along, shoeless and happy. But when metaphoric snow and ice befall us, we can easily slip and fall. We are not prepared. Sometimes it takes everything in us to keep ourselves marching along.

How can we find traction in perilous spiritual moments? In faith as in walking, it requires mindfulness. We cannot blindly shuffle through our day. Every movement, every moment, must be deliberate, focused on the one who sustains us, who keeps us upright: God.

That is not to say that we don’t need to be mindful when all is well. We should. But when the chips are down and the way gets treacherous, constant reliance on God may be the only thing that can keep us moving. God, help me get out of bed. God, help me at work. God, help me not to break down right now.

In many recovery groups there’s a saying about taking things one day at a time. However, sometimes a day can seem too long. I prefer, at times like these, to think about taking it one STEP at a time. And with every step, keep God in mind. God will carry you through. Now take the next step. March, march!

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