Have you ever had a pair of shoes that were your “go to”? They’re good for anything. For that quick trip to the store, a run in the park, a workout, comfortable for days when you know you’ll be standing for hours, and the list goes on. They’re the best of shoes, but the problem is the tread sometimes wears off.
There I was, hiking with my friend and realizing I was clearly unprepared for the trail we were on. It had rained the night before and in the minutes before we started on the trail—hard, pouring rain. In its aftermath, the single-file trail had been turned to slippery mud. A perfect time to have forgotten to pack your hiking boots.
There I was with my favorite shoes, my running shoes, which are getting to the point where I think my toes might pop through the sides. The bottoms are all worn out and the tread is nearing its end. Needless to say, I was completely unprepared.
Given a writer’s brain, my mind wanders while doing most tasks. Often times I am distracted by events or people, but for this moment God showed me something which I hope will help you today.
As we hiked this slope, one of the most frustrating things was wanting to enjoy the journey, but I couldn’t because of my shoes. And to top it off, there were spider webs lining the path. I’m not one to get squeamish about spiders, but after stepping into about three webs I knew something would have to change. I couldn’t be focused on both my feet and the webs at the same time.
That’s when my friend stepped in. She took up a stick and began to wave it in front of both of us, knocking the webs aside, both seen and unseen. We must have made quite a site, she leading the way with a stick in hand, slashing at unseen foes and myself trailing behind, sliding every now and again, and having to catch my balance. We laughed knowing we had planned for a long hike, but the mud and spiders weren’t going to let us walk quickly.
There we were plodding along and a thought came to me. How often do I walk through life like this? Too often I come on the journey with my old worn out shoes, not having read the Word and unprepared for what is to come. Too many times I have tried to slide through the mud on my own only to get hit by a spider web and stand in the same place removing the web for minutes on end.
What if instead, I was more prepared? What if I had my “feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace”? (Eph 6:15) What a difference it would make!
So bear with me as I extrapolate from the simplest of moments. I think too often we are either unprepared for the journey, or we simply have to learn how to walk in the mud.
But we’re not alone in the mud.
You see, one of the hardest things for me to do is ask others for help. To reach out and say, “I have to focus on my feet, can you help me get through? I can’t keep an eye on the spider webs too.”
Maybe you’re going through a tough time right now. Maybe you’re like me and you think you can do it all on your own when the Lord has placed women in your life to help you. Don’t discredit the power of prayer. Don’t think for a moment that you will see all of the pitfalls and “webs” the darkness will send your way. Have a trusted friend offer a helping hand. Have them pray for you, and walk before you swatting at the darkness trying to overcome you.
Together we can lift one another up.
For some seasons I will be the one sliding in the mud, focusing on putting one foot in front of the other. And at other times I’ll be the one wielding the stick and fighting off the webs, the one holding onto the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (Eph 6:17).
So take heart and focus on your feet when the ground gets muddy. If you slip and fall, stand back up, dust yourself off and fit your feet with the gospel of peace. And move forward with a friend, unafraid to ask for help, allowing them to help dispel some of the darkness.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God so that when the day of evil comes you may be able to stand your ground and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then with the belt of truth strapped around your waist, the breastplate of righteousness in place, and your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. -Ephesians 6:10-18 (ESV)
Women’s Ministry Assistant