Colossians 3:2 teaches “Set your minds on things that are above, not things that are on earth”
I enjoy being outside and either walking or jogging in my neighborhood. Even in winter, I find few things that bring more peace to my soul then getting bundled up and feeling the warm sun contrasting with the brisk air. Especially after a snowfall … everything is covered in white and God’s beauty just seems to whisper and shout at me all at the same time. I have one particular street that is my favorite … the quaint New England homes , the trees that line that road, and just the sheer sense of quiet I feel. It is a kind of special place that God and I share together. On this particular day I was walking down that street and is was right after a snow. The roads were rather mucky, slushy, and just plain dirty. I was looking down at my feet concentrating on the muddy snow and the brown puddles trying not to get my shoes too dirty when I realized I was not seeing what was in front of me. I was focused on the the muck so much that I was missing the blue sky, the puffy white clouds that I could make into assorted creations in my mind , the chirping birds, the crazy squirrels running about and even more importantly … God’s voice. I had to resist that urge to carefully walk through the muck and not dirty myself and instead choose to look upwards and just forget about getting my shoes dirty.
It occurred to me what a metaphor this was for life. If you are anything like me, sometimes I get wrapped up in the details of what is going on in my life (or not going on) and instead of looking upwards I am looking down … at my earthly problems. It seems to be such a natural tendency to look at these problems … we have such an assortment to chose from … from events like divorce, loss of jobs, and death to what goes on in our mind like worry about our children and finances , self doubt, inner criticism and that voice that tells us we just don’t measure up. Even in the midst of all this we simultaneously have God’s beauty all around us … His love, His creation, His promises. We live in a world that is fallen, that is broken therefore we will at times (sometimes more often than we would like) … walk through the muck.
I love Kay Warren’s analogy of two train tracks. Most of us think of the highs and lows in life , the mountains and the valleys … but often we are on two train tracks. On one track are the struggles and the other track are the blessings … whatever is happening in our lives there is also good at the same time. What we choose to focus on is what we will take center stage in our life. It takes being purposeful to lift our heads up and look towards God but once we do that we release ourselves of the burden, the worry, and the heaviness that all that muck carries with it.
Our shoes will get dirty that is for sure. We can’t take away that fact. But dirty shoes and all , God’s blessings surround us and if we make that choice to set our minds on His ways and His truth we begin by His grace to see the beauty through the muck.