I think we’d all agree that, for better or worse, the rhythms of our lives have been interrupted over the last year, but I think we’d also agree that the change of pace and routine has also brought new opportunities to consider how and where we invest our time. For me, I’ve started walking more. In my “interrupted life,” I actually take two walks a day. The catch? I walk the same path, but in two different directions. Let me explain.
I walk a one-mile loop at a local forest preserve that contains a hidden lake, a wooded path around clear, quiet waters. Most days, there are only a few walkers, runners, and a handful of anglers searching for bass or crappie. It has become a place of solitude and freedom to let my mind rest and to simply breathe. My routine is to circle the small lake several times, usually in the same direction. One day, for some reason, I decided to stop after completing one loop and change directions. What I did not expect was how this change of direction would open my awareness and shift my the perspective, even though I had taken that same walk many times before. From that day on, I took two different walks on the same path.
Admittedly, what I write may not seem earth shattering, but consider how the simplest of things may open you and me to much deeper realities. One of those realities for me that day was when I saw the “shire”, as I have come to call it, from a different vantage point. The shire (yes, stolen from Lord of the Rings) is a beautiful combination of meadow and woods woven together in complementing harmony as you gaze southward from the back corner of the hidden lake’s path. The scene that day captured my imagination and became a metaphor that impacted Altar Fly Fishing’s progress and ministry, challenging me to go and travel a new path for the sake of others, to merge faith and fly fishing into a common stream. An adventure came to life in that moment, and because of it, you and I now get to share Altar’s path together.
A simple change of direction on the common path I walked changed my life. I am eternally grateful.
The Bible has a word for changing one’s direction: repentance. Not a word many of us often (or like) to use. Repentance may bring feelings of regret or shame rather than release and freedom. Sometimes, repentance means taking a step of faith, turning toward God and away from dead end realities. Sometimes, repentance can be broader as we consider the directions we are walking in our relationships (with family, marriage, or friends), our work, our personal habits, or _____ (you fill in the blank). Repentance is making a change.
As Covid restrictions continue to lift, we will return to some of the common, more familiar “paths” of life: travel sports and kids’ activities, church, work routines, social engagements! As you consider the paths of your own life, with all the awareness and perspectives this past year has offered through its interruptions to life’s rhythms, let me ask you two questions: What needs to change direction in your life? How will you intentionally walk on your familiar paths?
Don’t miss the opportunity. Dare to take a different walk.
Listen to the words from Jeremiah 6:16. “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.’”
- As you have walked your own new paths this year, how have you become more aware or gained new perspectives?
- As you consider entering back to familiar paths of life, what will you do differently? With what (or with whom) will you be intentional? How can you take a different walk on the same path?
- Are there areas in your life in which you need to repent (to turn around and walk in a different direction)? Talk (pray) to God about these and invite at least one friend to support your journey as you walk in a new direction.