What we walk on and when we slip
I have been thinking about how we need to learn how to walk the path that God has set out for us without slipping or twisting an ankle and putting ourselves off the track for a while.
Psalm 18: 32 -33
It is God who arms me with strength
and keeps my way secure.
He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
he causes me to stand on the heights.
Turning trials into trails.
A couple of months ago, I was walking up a muddy path in the Malvern Hills, I was surprised to find that it was not slippery aas a result of the way that it had been hardened by the frost and so the muddy footprints literally became footholds that aided my climb.
As I noticed this, I felt God talk to me about the importance of our trials becoming trails that others can walk on. Overcoming our own difficulties can help those who come after us. This led me to thinking about how some of these bad experiences can become ‘frozen’ in time and useful for other people to walk on. Here are a couple of my thoughts:
1. Taking time to deliberately reflect on some of our difficult times. I know we don’t like to do this but there is something about revisiting hard things and extracting the lessons we learned from a safe distance of time. Perhaps journaling or finding opportunities to tell our stories. In this way we ‘freeze’ our experience – enabling someone else to find grip where we have slipped – giving them hope.
2. Embracing the pain and sharing the healing. Often we try to cover up areas of vulnerability, hiding painful moments because we want others to think that we are stronger than we are when an acknowledgement of mutual pain is one of the quickest ways others can identify with us. Pain damages us, but the healing that results is often stronger in the same way that broken bones heal and grow back stronger or scar tissue that is tougher than skin.
Footholds and handholds
Many years ago I went through a very difficult time and I felt like I had fallen into a deep dark pit and I was trying to find my way out. I remember protesting to God about the pit and why should I have to go through such a thing? And then just as I was praying I had the distinct impression that someone else was coming up just behind me and I felt God say that the footholds and handholds that I was discovering would be useful to others in years to come.
So how willing are you to turn your hard times into hard standing that others coming after you can walk on? If you are going through a difficult time at the moment how about not praying: ‘God get me out of here’, but rather: ‘God, get me through this so that in the future what I learn, can become someone else’s key to victory’.
This is the first part of a two part series on ‘Trials or Trails’.