We’re still in January, and we have the whole year ahead of us. Most of us, though, stumble down the trail, because we have rocks in our shoes.
Reoccurring worry over that thing, wounds with scabs that keep coming off, grudges, and regret chafe and jab into our feet. We either won’t travel far or our pace will be slow and painful, unless we plop our bums on the trail, pull off our boots and shake what’s inside.
First, we have to find the rascals. The obvious ones roll out of the heel, and we let them ping away.
I’m sorry I snapped at my husband. I apologize.
Others we need to fish with our fingers to dislodge. These stones we must acknowledge how we acquired them and own-up to our part in their residence in our shoes. We must name the people, the events, their roles, our roles and then choose to forgive, to let go of bitterness, to put the fork down and quit indulging in self pity.
My expectations were unreasonable. No one can read my mind.
Other stones have sharper edges and require careful handling. Some of these stones we are unable to leave beside the trail. We may have to carry them the rest of our journey or for an undetermined time yet.
I did not confront people I loved with words they needed to hear.
These heavier stones with planes that meet at cutting angles or with broken jaggedness require time to erode until they’re more manageable. We can’t keep carrying these boulders in our shoes, but we can’t continue our journey without them.
One or two of will fit in our pockets, where we rub them and remember. We work our fingers around the edges until we’re more comfortable with them. We may nick our thumb, but if we work with the roughness long enough, maybe they will smooth like the pancake and egg-shaped stones that roll in a river’s current.
The heaviest burdens are too massive for us to carry. We must entrust Someone else with them. We must override our pride and admit that the load is too much. We can’t make sense of the monstrosity. Its weight is so great that we cannot hold it or budge it to see all sides of it, so we cannot figure out a way to deal with it.
Eternal life for people I love troubles me.
Regret is often that mountain of rock, and many regrets form a mountain range, something solid, immovable, and unsurmountable, because they are set in stone as historical facts. We have to acknowledge them, but then what? We cannot turn back the clock to undo the past.
Why didn’t I make more of an effort with people? I should have not hidden in selfish self-defense.
Stand back from the rock face and turn to your Rock and Redeemer. Ask Him to take aching regret into safe keeping for you. Maybe these regrets He will polish, until together, you can see that even they have beauty, or maybe He will heave it over the side of the trail for you.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.(Hebrews 12:1-2)
It’s time to lace up our boots and grab our walking sticks. With every bend in the trail, let’s think of actions and moments we don’t regret, the things we said or did, or didn’t say or do, for which we are grateful.
I’m thankful for loading the boys in the car for the 800 mile trip to their grandparents every summer.
I’m thankful I could see Mom as a person and that she could see my admiration of her art.
I’m grateful that I spoke words of life and peace to my father-in-law the day before he died.
I’m relieved that I shoved the leather reins of my life into Jesus’ hands and let him decide where we were going.
With every remembrance of an act we don’t regret, our legs grow stronger and our gaze lifts higher for what lies down the trail.
Walk with me.
What are you grateful that you did that prevented a regret?