Discipleship Afoot: Starting the Walk
Dr. JoAnn E. Manson of Harvard Medical School says this: “If there was a pill that people could take that would nearly cut in half the risk of stroke, diabetes, heart disease, reduce the risk of cognitive decline and depression, reduce stress, improve emotional well-being – everyone would be clamoring to take it, it would be flying off the shelf. But that pill, that magic potion, really is available to everyone in the form of thirty minutes a day of brisk walking.”
I love to walk, to go for a hike in remote areas, to enjoy the sights and sounds, sometimes the smells, and experience. It’s not as easy as it once was, my hip gets sore, my legs ache, as my body gets older and less agile. All the more reason to keep at it, because, the benefits described above are worth the effort! Compared to my sedentary neighbor, walking puts me in a better mood, allows me to live longer, to have a stronger heart, and with less girth on the bone. Here’s a benefit: a clearer memory (because I need all the help I can get with memory). There’s more! Lower cholesterol, better blood pressure, less chance for cancer, less for diabetes, and dementia. You’re getting the point, right? A 20-30 minute walk each day at a moderate pace provides all of this to the walker.
Walking has other benefits. We see things differently when we walk, we feel more deeply, think more clearly. We walk to figure things out. We walk to get a sense of the scale of things, in more ways than one. We walk because we experience land and sky and light in new fresh ways.
“This is what the Lord says: ‘Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls’” (Jeremiah 6:16). A great scripture, I use it on the heading of my blog (rickwilliswrites.wordpress.com). God has provided the guidance, the pathway of life that we need, in the Bible. If we walk in his way, the hills may at times still be steep, our energy drained, but we will occasionally crest the hill and have a view that takes our breath away! His path leads to heaven, which will be more than we can imagine!! Meanwhile, his path puts us on the right road for life too, with correct values, a source of forgiveness and right relationships (with God and humans), character traits he desires, etc.
Here’s the sad part of the Jeremiah quote above. It doesn’t end with “rest for your souls.” The quote ends with these words: “But the people said, ‘We will NOT walk in it.’” God offers his path in life, a focus on Jesus, who sustains and saves, but many respond: “No thanks, I have a different road I will travel.”
So, I decided to write a series of articles about walking. About walks I’ve taken and things I’ve learned along the way. Physical walks involve sights and sounds and smells, the dog that chases you, the car who almost ran into you just over the hill, the snake that curled up ready to strike; but also the fresh smell of hay in season, the reflection of trees in the pond, the wildflowers and sunsets that provide God’s paintbrush across the fields and sky! We find such contrasts as we relate spiritually too.
Joint me on this walk. I’m pretty sure I’ll benefit, I hope you do too. The Christian life has no pill that can be taken to remove all the bad, but this walk provides a journey that can benefit us greatly.
Cross Point: “If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25).