The spring flood waters finally receded enough for me to hike my usual loop at the lake near our house.
Unfortunately, my Mother’s warning about critters and snakes being more active after having their habitat reorganized rang loudly in my ears. That, coupled with the overgrowth that occurred when nobody could walk the trails, had me focused on the small patch of ground immediately in front of me.
As wet weeds brushed against my ankles and shins, I found myself looking straight down to see what was lurking along the path. The place where my foot would land next had my full attention.
I was so focused on my fear of being bitten that I walked head first into a spider web, nearly missed the turn to a side trail I wanted to explore and almost overlooked the beauty of a plant hardy enough to bloom despite the sweltering August heat.
I can get so completely overwhelmed with my daily struggles that I forget to look up, too.
Dirty dishes stacked high in the sink. Mountains of laundry. Beds that won’t make themselves. Kids who don’t want to go to school. A husband off on another Army adventure leaving me to handle all the dirty work I usually save just for him. Pesky aches and pains keep me from doing all I wish I could. Maybe there is debt piling up, guilt turned to shame over a bad habit that can’t be broken, marriage discord, a job lost, a sick loved one, or even backstabbing friends or co-workers.
When we fixate on those issues, we are likely to walk headlong into more pressing matters without warning, miss our cue to change direction, or even fail to recognize some small glimpse of beauty around us.
Instead of looking down in fear, look up in faith.
Look up for the protection, direction, and inspiration that only come from above.
We might be moving down a treacherous trail that ends in a deadly drop-off. If we don’t look up, we could miss our chance to reroute and avoid a perilous situation. But when we lift our gaze, we see where we are headed. We anticipate challenging climbs, dangerous slopes, and sticky situations. We prepare for what lies ahead or change course to avoid treacherous trails altogether. Looking up protects us.
When we look up we are able to discern God’s prompting to move left or right, or to turn around altogether. But when our eyes are lowered, we might overlook opportunities to explore new territory, meet interesting people, or discover something about ourselves. It matters not how fast we move, only that we are constantly under God’s direction. Sometimes that simply means being still and focusing on His sovereignty.
Beauty that surpasses our imagination surrounds us, but it is seldom found while staring down at our own two feet. Regarding only the weeds and thorns, we miss the blooms. When we direct our view heavenward, we see more clearly what God is doing and the glory surrounding us. This is what gives me strength to carry on in His footsteps. The majesty of His creation inspires me.
Whatever you are wrestling with, the answer is not found in the struggle itself, but rather at the feet of Jesus. Look up to Him for the protection, direction and inspiration to overcome whatever you are walking through today. Trust Him to safely guide your every step.
“Lift up your eyes on high and see who has created these stars, the One who leads for their host by number, He calls them all by name; Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power, not one of them is missing.” Isaiah 40:26
Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you for providing the protection, direction and inspiration I need to continue walking in Your will. Gently lift my face to look toward you when the challenges I encounter threaten to consume me. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
**This post is a follow-up to the previously published, Don’t Back Up. If you haven’t read that yet, please follow the link for more encouragement about handling tough encounters.