Two years ago I quit making excuses for my lack of exercise. I put on my walking shoes, leashed the dogs and went for a walk. There are no sidewalks in my neighborhood, our roads are narrow, so I took to the vineyards. Wonderful dirt paths at the beginning of my street wind through beautiful vineyards. A perfect place to walk.
These vineyards are not fine and stately. They are small plots owned by people in my neighborhood or village. Some are kept well. Some are scraggly. Some abandoned completely. The vineyards sit on a knoll that separates Chisinau, the capital city, and Durlesti, our village. As I walk out I look upon the city below. On my trip back I see our wonderful little village.
Vineyard walks have become a part of my life, a balm for my soul.
I walk. I'm a fast walker, but not a runner. I don't know that I'll ever be a runner. But this walking started me on a path to better health. I have more energy and better brain power when I walk. A year after starting walking, I took on losing weight, and I did.
I listen to worship. Tunes go in my ears. I tend to get a new album and listen to it to death. I've done this since I was a teen. It drove my brother, Steve, crazy. It would drive my family crazy too, but, when the tunes are in my ears, no one is bothered. I love letting the message of an album sink into me. I pray the truths of the songs. I walk to the beat.
I pray. I pray for my family, for myself, my friends--Pretty much whatever needs prayer when I go out the door and whatever God brings to my mind. And then I listen to what God might say about these things. He's filled my mind and heart with so much of His wisdom in these times.
I yell at my dog. I used to take both our German Shepherd and Mini-schnauzer. That was torture. Now I take one or the other. I love to take them off the leash and let them run, but they don't always listen to me. Then I really have to yell to get them back.
I stop and pick burrs. Beside the hard dirt path I walk lies tall weeds. Gracie doesn't stay on the path. She must explore the edges. Burrs catch in her fur. She can go on for a while, but eventually they start to bother her. She stops and tries to pull them out with her mouth. My hands work much better. We stop and pick those sticky little weeds off her legs and beard. Only then we can proceed.
The other day I gently picked her burrs and thought how this is like life. Sometimes we have to stop. We have pick out the burrs.
Maybe it is the need to forgive a hurt. We don't forgive and with every step the burr pokes us. We have to take time to go to God and ask him to pull that burr from us, heal us. We have to forgive the one who hurt us. When I don't forgive, I am the one that keeps getting poked and hurt by the burr.
Maybe it is the need to trust. The future is uncertain. The medical report came back with bad news. The month is longer than the money. God is so trust-worthy. He cares. We can trust him and not let these burrs poke us.
Maybe it is the need to finish an unfinished task. College degrees unfinished. A book half-written. A dream started and abandoned. Each is a burr that reminds us daily there is something to complete. Go back. Is it worth finishing? Then pick it up and start again. If it isn't. Let it go. Bury it. Throw dirt on it and don't come back to it.
Maybe it is the need to release shame. An unexpected pregnancy. A divorce. A child gone astray. Singleness. Barreness. Too heavy. To thin. Too emotional. Not emotional enough. Not good enough. Each is a burr that brings pain with each step.
Satan wants us to stay paralyzed by the burrs in our lives. He want us to walk in the guilt and shame. He wants us to suffer from the pain of the burrs we left in our lives. May God remind you of the burrs you are carrying around. Take them to Jesus.
Jesus wants to bend gently down and pick each burr from your life. He wants you to run free from pain. He came to set the captive free. He came to release us from the things that entangle us. He came to give life abundantly.
Let him take the burrs today.