You probably haven’t noticed the most important piece of equipment in this photo of me in the Austrian Alps. Nice shirt… subtle… is that it?
Because we are walking in the mountains the vital thing to have is the proper footwear. Without sturdy, well-designed and comfortable BOOTS a walk in the Alps will be short, painful, and potentially dangerous.
There’s a lesson in that.
Have you ever experienced really uncomfortable shoes – that simply don’t fit?
Shoes, by way of definition, are an external structure imposed on feet to aid us in walking. Various styles of footwear are on offer, designed for different uses and manufactured in a wide range of colours, materials and shapes. Choice of shoes will reflect a mixture of factors including purpose, practicality and personal preferences regarding design, style and colour. Most new ones need to be “broken in” but some never fit.
Christians might do well to consider the variety of models of spirituality in terms of fit, comfort, appropriateness, and even beauty; if as Isaiah and Paul say, our feet are to be shod with beauty, grace and Truth for our life as messengers of Good News, we need to be fairly comfortable with the fit. Few things are as wearying as uncomfortable feet. Shoe sizes vary: and we need to choose the correct size. As any parent knows, it is especially vital to make sure that children’s shoes are fitted very carefully to give support, growing room, and a safe grip.
If we inflict an ill-fitting model of spirituality on ourselves or on others, (just because it is expected!) we condemn ourselves / others to misery and inhibit spiritual growth and happiness. To walk in shoes that are too small, too large, or unsuitable for the current task is unpleasant and very frustrating. To have a badly fitting or poorly chosen spirituality may be just as uncomfortable – however “old” or “young” we may be in faith.
Please don’t make yourself feel guilty about your spirituality just because you may be different. Be yourself! That is how God made you. Aim to become more like Jesus.
Try new ways of prayer & study; look into some ancient patterns and methods as well as new ones. Be prepared to learn perseverance and deeper discipline; form good habits. Depend on the Holy Spirit for guidance. Find a friend to walk beside you. Just pray.
Pray as you can … not as you can’t!