…WALK BY THE SPIRIT…IF WE LIVE BY THE SPIRIT, LET US ALSO KEEP IN STEP WITH THE SPIRIT~Galatians 5:16, 25 (ESV)
I’m not a parent yet, but I’ve had my share of leading young children in some way, whether it was in a mentoring and coaching program I started several years ago, across the street safely, or through an Atlanta aquarium. I’ve also had the privilege of teaching them in some capacity through various volunteer opportunities.
Perhaps my most memorable moments, however, are the ones when I get to interact with those that are nearest and dearest to me, like when I had the opportunity to teach my nephews how to float in the ocean a couple of summers ago.I can still remember many years ago teaching my, then, 2 year old cousin how to write and say her name.
Just a couple of weeks ago, when some of my sisters came to visit me in Houston, I was tasked with walking with one of my nieces and holding her hands to make sure she didn’t venture into the street and into harm’s way. In her very “leadership-in-training like way” (AKA Miss Independent) she almost managed to pull free of my grasp and run ahead of me, trying to run after her older cousin, my nephew. In that moment, I caught a glimpse of how my relationship with the Lord tends to play out many times and was reminded of it again this week.
As I have been in different seasons of waiting throughout my life, I would like to think that I have matured in some ways. Ha! (The Lord may beg to differ!). This week has been a week of frustration, asking WHY questions to the Lord and frankly, one of indifference as I considered the current climate at my job, a very pivotal season in my career, and projects and ideas He has called me to start or continue while using my gifts. I felt like while I have taken many steps forward, I seemed to be pulled back or placed in a holding pattern of some sort. The Holy Spirit showed me an image of myself as my niece–a young child–and immediately that scripture listed above came to mind.
He reminded me that over the years, I often will start something with Him, “keeping in step with the Spirit”, not leaning to my own understanding, acknowledging Him in all my ways and trusting Him to direct my path (Proverbs 3:5-6). Somehow, I, too, begin to break free of His grasp and one of two things will happen. In some instances, there are times where I begin lagging behind Him and become lazy. This laziness plays out in the form of me slacking up on reading my Word, having my daily devotional time or haphazardly rushing through it, not stopping to pray, etc. There are other times, which happens more often than I’d like to admit, where I end up running ahead of Him, like my niece evenutally did that day, deceiving myself into thinking I’ve gotten the hang of things and this path called life. Perhaps I’ve gotten a glimpse of how I think certain things should work or play out and I become Miss Independent. It’s as if I have communicated to God, “I got this Lord.”
That is…until I don’t anymore.
I end up having to slow down or stop altogether and walk back to Him to get back in step with Him. I realize for the umpteenth time that being in step with the Spirit is the safest and best place for me, always, and especially while I am waiting. I was reminded to not only start with Jesus, but to walk with Him, step by step, to continue with Him and to end with Him. He is my beginning, middle, end and all there is in between on this journey. I can’t start, continue or finish the work He has called me to without Him.
There’s a reason why it says we are to walk by the Spirit, rather than skip or run. When I am walking, it’s easier for me to slow down to a stop as I hear the Holy Spirit prompt me about something. When I am not rushing full speed ahead, determined to get to a certain place in life (predetermined by someone else’s timetable or where society says I should be), I can find His pace and fall in line right beside Him as we travel through each day together. The truth is, I can’t hear Him speak to me if I am too far ahead or lagging behind. Yet, when I am walking in step with Him, I’m in the best position to hear Him clearly.
Scripture references: The Holy Bible (ESV)
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