Daily D – 1 Corinthians 9:26
So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. 1 CORINTHIANS 9:26 (NLT)
I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. I’m staying alert and in top condition.
Ollie the Border Collie and I enjoy a morning walk after I read and write and he and our black dog Millie get to eat breakfast and secure the backyard. That thirty minutes or so provides a nice time to greet the rising sun, to bask in morning shadows, to listen to the sounds of the morning, and to pray through long-memorized lists and the pressing matters of the moment.
This is our favorite way to begin the day. It is one of the new routines we have developed over the last few months of pandemic living. We know where the cardinals reside and the hawks roost. We greet the bunnies and avoid the cross-country team always in such a hurry.
Yesterday morning’s stroll got canceled. Writing took longer than normal. An early coaching call crimped our window for outdoor exploration. Sadly, I shaved and showered and prepared for the day without an opportunity to clear my head and express my praise, thanksgiving, confession, and intercession. Five minutes before the coaching call was to begin, I received notice that this event would not occur. We needed to reschedule for next week.
No problem. Life happens.
However, I was carrying around the baggage I normally discard on our morning adventures. Climbing the stairs to the office, I grumbled a bit internally. Getting focused and becoming productive was a chore. It took longer than it should have. All in all, it was a pretty good day, but not as good as it could have been.
One of my favorite books from last year’s reading list is Cal Newport’s Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World. Cal is a university professor and author of some of the most highly acclaimed books of the last few years. Do not look for him on Facebook or Twitter except in other people’s quotes. Place his book Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World next to Digital Minimalism. Read them back to back and you may find yourself wanting to borrow Ollie the Border Collie each morning.
Newport walks to work each day. No matter the weather, he hoofs it from home to office. He provides wonderful detail about how walks in nature clear our heads and provide us with enhanced focus. He discusses Walden Pond and its value to a certain well-known personality from the past. It is interesting, isn’t it, that God walked with Adam and Eve in the garden? When is the last time you took a walk with God?
The trails near our home have been well watered through the years with our tears as we lifted our prayers for our children, relatives, and friends. We have sought our Father’s direction and provision. We pray silently, and we pray aloud. If you ever see me talking to myself when I am out for a walk, I’m not crazy. I am probably experiencing the height of sanity at that moment.
Walking with Ollie keeps me from getting so lost in my thoughts that I wander off the path. He knows the way and leads me step by step. He even asks when and where to turn back toward home. He knows the different turning points we use depending on the time we have and the weather conditions. He protects me from other dogs and crazy people. He keeps my pace steady and focused.
An angry bulldog escaped from his yard one day and tore after us. I carry pepper spray, but I have never used it and did not use it that day. As the bulldog got close to us, Ollie approached him without a sound and began running in circles around the snarling, slobbering mess of a dog. The bulldog became so confused, he sat down. Ollie stared at him a moment, turned, and we walked on. The bulldog remained in place for a bit and then wandered on back home.
We sang songs of praise and thanksgiving that morning. Well, I did. Ollie was focused on getting us there and back again. I missed that kind of adventure yesterday morning. It messed up my whole day. Ollie, Millie, and I will descend the stairs in a few minutes. They will eat breakfast and secure the yard. Millie will stay home to take care of my bride. Ollie and I will hit the trail. We can’t wait. We have so much to do and pray.
I will walk with God (and Ollie).
Our Father, thank you for morning walks, morning shadows, morning sights and sounds. Thank you for time alone with you to express praise and thanksgiving. Thank you for times to prayerfully ponder the day. Thank you for the opportunity to engage you with my thoughts and concerns for family, friends, and work. Thank you for the opportunity day by day to walk with you, talk with you, and know that I am your own. Amen.
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Ruth 1:20, 21 “Don’t call me Naomi. Call me Mara,” she answered, “for the Almighty has made me very bitter. I went away full, but the LORD has brought me back empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the LORD has opposed me, and the Almighty has afflicted me?” (CSB)