A Whole Body Walk 

Proverbs 4:1-7

1 Hear, my children, the instruction of a father, And give attention to know understanding;

2 For I give you good doctrine: Do not forsake my law.

3 When I was my father’s son, Tender and the only one in the sight of my mother,

4 He also taught me, and said to me: “Let your heart retain my words; Keep my commands, and live.

5 Get wisdom! Get understanding! Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth.

6 Do not forsake her, and she will preserve you; Love her, and she will keep you.

7 Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding.

Have you ever tried to walk a straight line with your head turned to the side? It’s very hard to do. Ask a child to do it and it’s a quick example of how off course one can get if they are not looking at the goal. Or think of of people walking while texting on their phones and running into things. Some have even injured themselves walking into poles, the street, or cars. Not looking up and forward will get you the wrong place and is potentially dangerous. 

When I go out walking and taking public transportation in this busy city, I am constantly telling my sons to pay attention. I don’t want them to walk into something they shouldn’t; to step too far away from me; or cause others discomfort or anger from bumping into them. It’s an active walk, to get from one place to another, and it requires the whole body to move the right way and do the right thing to get from A to B. When we miss a transfer or turn down the wrong street we have to reorient ourselves to our destination and make the corrections needed to get somewhere. Like a GPS recalculating, we don’t change our destination, we move forward to the place we need to be. 

Proverbs 4:20-27

20 My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings.

21 Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart;

22 For they are life to those who find them, And health to all their flesh.

23 Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.

24 Put away from you a deceitful mouth, And put perverse lips far from you.

25 Let your eyes look straight ahead, And your eyelids look right before you.

26 Ponder the path of your feet, And let all your ways be established.

27 Do not turn to the right or the left; Remove your foot from evil.

Proverbs 4 is a plea to pay attention, it uses physical descriptions to help one understand the cause and effect of where we walk and what path we take in our lives. Various parts of the whole body are mentioned: ears, heart, flesh, feet, mouth, eyes, and eyelids, the instructions for each are also spiritual. 

With our ears, we are to listen to instruction. Active listening is seeking to understand what is being said, we should be actively pondering wisdom. In this chapter, wisdom says: “Do not enter the path of the wicked, And do not walk in the way of evil.” (Prov. 4:14) “But the path of the just is like the shining sun, That shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.” (Prov. 4:18) Then we are told to use our whole selves to give attention to these things. Our hearts are to be filled with instruction, our eyes should be looking forward to the right path, one that won’t be taking us down the one of wickedness, but towards the path of the just. Our mouth should be speaking true and just things, and our eyelids should be open. Our feet should be moving us in the direction away from wickedness. 

This isn’t a passive response to the wisdom, but an active and moving response. For me, my movement constantly needs focus. I daily need to get my mind attentive to wise things, mainly God’s Word, the Bible. Then I have direction, to go throughout my day not stumbling in darkness, but with eyes wide open, looking to finish each day in light of the truth of scripture. Do I have days when I go off course? Yes, can it change by the hour sometimes? Yes. Instead of continuing the wrong way though, it requires a refocusing of the mind, heart, and eyes onto the wisdom from God to get back on course. It is easier to correct direction when less wrong turns have been taken. Where do you need to actively move to be on the bright and shining path of wisdom?

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Trust is a Funny Thing

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Proverbs 3:5-6 NASB
Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.

Trust is a funny thing.

I was thinking about trust, and placing trust in either inanimate objects or in an animal, or in a person. I know I have tiers of trust, that are often complex and hard to break through.

I will sit on a chair without checking the handiwork of it for its soundness. In my experience, a chair has never let me down; so placing my confidence that one will hold me up is an easy feat.

Trusting an animal, a pet for instance, is easy also. I know my own dog will not bite me, I can play with it, take its food away, give it toys, throw a stick, or grab a ball from its mouth and I know I will not be harmed. I can trust my own dog, because I know it, and I am the hand that feeds it. I wouldn’t put my face near a dog that was not my own though. I know boundaries exist among pets and animals. It is something I assume and rely on, even though my experience has never gotten me bit by a dog. (Trusting a cat is an entirely different matter…)

How about people? Do you trust people readily? I tend not to. Perhaps it is my skeptical personality, maybe my upbringing, maybe just my own evaluation of myself causes me to doubt others. I have a very close and small circle of persons I will trust. Maybe a total of 4 people whom I trust entirely. I can think of who they are with no hesitation, and I think they would know who they are if they read this.

Have you ever sent a package in the mail? You trust the postal service will get it to its destination, in one piece. I was sending a box of books, to an unknown recipient, who purchased those from me, at a reasonable price; and I suddenly felt like I wanted to rush out of the post office and not send them, but I didn’t. I am counting on a relatively unknown to make good on their word to also have sent me the check for said books. In “good faith” I sent the package, and I can only hope that the person will also send their check, in same “good faith” that I will post the books as agreed upon. Not a simple test of faith exactly, but it was for me an act of trust. (I’ll certainly let you know if they fail to keep their end of the deal.)

I have no reasonable cause for doubt, I just doubt because it seems reasonable to do so. Continue reading

Life lessons are not often without clean up required.

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So, I was doing something nice, making tea, getting a tray ready. A croissant toasting, and the pot of tea brewing. I reached up into my cabinet and took out my newest teacup that I acquired at a flea market. Turned around and a little dude had snuck behind me silently, I was startled and the cup dropped. Well, china and ceramic tile don’t mix, and it shattered.

Unintentional accident. I dropped my cup, my toast burnt while cleaning it up. I shouted, then cried, then I apologized. Sounds like words to a country song. I initially placed prize value on my now broken cup, instead of the not-so-little one who had snuck up behind me. Of course it was accidental, and partially rule-breaking, as I have told them before not to come in the kitchen.

The thing is, life is more fragile than a teacup, and of much greater value than a rare find. Kindness was required and care in cleaning up both the shattered pieces and also in the relationship being brought to tension.

Proverbs 3:3-4 “Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good repute in the sight of God and man.”

The human heart is so fragile, when an incident occurs, if even a thought or word is shared harshly, it can cause damage in so many ways. Broken relationships are a bane of our lives, and occur all too often. Perhaps sometimes it is because we are all valuing the wrong thing and not responding in the right way to life.

In my small incident this morning, I did not make myself known for my soft response initially. I was the harsh person who forgot what kindness is. That was quickly remedied when I paused and looked at my son and remembered a material thing is not so important. I picked up the pieces of the cup, placed them on the counter and asked God to put that gentleness in me. We all have those moments, when we want to lash out, and then feel that prodding of the heart, to be kind.

When I chose the kindness, there was restored favor. My son was able to ask and inquire if I could fix the cup. I told him no, but I could still do something with it perhaps. He needed to know that the favor was there and that it was not the end of the world. I think that despite my initial reaction, the circumstance was valuable and able to show me a lesson of life. I now, with a different teacup, am able to sit and contemplate and enjoy favor. The boys are back to their happy play and it is nice and calm.

This verse in Proverbs was what I had planned on writing about today, I suppose I required this reminder first: That kindness goes a lot further and the result that comes when kindness is shown is favor. This verse is speaking of having integrity, having kindness and truth as your name tag. While many might think of integrity for large things only, it is a lifestyle of integrity even in the small stuff, even in the daily tasks of interacting with others in your home. Having integrity bound to us is living a godly wise life. We are to wear our integrity as a beautiful adornment both inside and outside. When we are known by integrity, kindness, and truth, we have both favor and a good reputation before God and before those around us.

The beauty is that, even if we mess up at first, there is often a second chance with God. He will gives us the opportunity to practice kindness and to walk in integrity. I am so glad there is forgiveness and glad I too get a second chance at living in kindness and picking up the pieces.

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