I stepped out onto the sidewalk in front of our building and was instantly filled with, all’s right with the world, take a deep breath, take in the beauty of spring, the endorphins are coming, joy! I picked up my pace and was a short block from my home when I realized that I hadn’t put on my FitBit. This is when the craziness tried to sidetrack me from my joy! “Oh bummer,” I thought, “I won’t get my step count for this walk. Should I go back?”
And just as quickly I thought, “If I’m a slave to the things that are suppose to HELP me, Lord help me from the help”!
Geez! Our gizmos and gadgets can become the ends rather than the means. I asked for the FitBit as a gift to motivate me into a healthier lifestyle. And, I thought it would just be fun to know how much I actually walk on my favorite paths. Setting a goal of 10,000 steps a day has become the latest health fad. But 10,000 steps isn’t the prize itself. It’s a goal meant to help me reach the prize(s). The prizes for me are greater health and being renewed by the beauty of the great outdoors.
Have you ever set goals with your spiritual life? Maybe you’ve decided you’ll read through the Bible in one year or start out each morning with prayer. Maybe you’ve thought of helpful strategies like avoiding your phone and computer when you first wake up, so that you’re not distracted away from that goal to read scripture or start the day with prayer. Those strategies can feel empowering! But what happens when we receive an important call as soon as we wake or we oversleep and have to rush off to an appointment? Suddenly our strategies meant to help us, just serve to shame us or discourage us.
The purpose of any spiritual discipline should be greater intimacy with Jesus. When we start emphasizing the way(s)/means to that intimacy we’ll start behaving as if all is lost and believing we’re not going to reach the ends unless we’re a slave to the means. The helpful truth is that choosing to turn to God when my day is not going in the way I planned often brings me closer to him than a smooth morning which goes as I planned.
So, I didn’t turn around for the FitBit. I took another deep breath, continued listening to an inspiring podcast, continued enjoying the blooming trees of Spring, and lo and behold, the spiritual and physical endorphins came to the rescue! The weather even cooperated by sprinkling a cooling mist on me as I explored new neighborhoods.
I’d like to stay aware when help is making me helpless.
“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” Proverbs 19:21