“Encouraging Words for Today” – May 20, 2011
by Lucinda Secrest McDowell
I just returned from a 2000 mile road trip and would have been lost without both MapQuest and our GPS! As you know, they offer explicit instructions on getting from Point A to Point B (presumably in the quickest and most direct route). All you have to do is enter where you want to “Start” and then where you want to “End” and voila! You have a step-by-step printout or narrative of instructions including every twist and turn along the way.
Do you ever wish there were a MapQuest tool for Life’s Journey? So there would never be any doubt as to whether to turn left or right? So you could clearly map out rocky roads and unexpected detours? So you would know how to pack for any contingency? So you would be assured that you’re headed towards the right destination?
Yes, it would be nice, but it would also eliminate the need for faith and trust in God as we journey on to each next step. Many have referred to life as a journey, but our spiritual lives are also known as a faith journey. And we are all somewhere on the path — some just starting out, others well along the way, and still others in the process of navigating back on track from significant detours.
It’s a similar concept for our journey towards balanced health physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally. This process is more like a marathon, not a sprint. It takes time and seasons to change old habits and replace them with a healthier lifestyle.
Summer can be a significant time for either jump-starting or recharging our health pursuits. At first glance the weather, vacation time-off, and other seasonal variables seem very conducive for such pursuits. But by now, most of us have learned that nothing happens automatically. We have to intentionally decide to make this a fit and healthy summer journey.
In my newly released 6-week Bible Study “Fit and Healthy Summer” I begin by reminding us to consult GPS (God’s Positioning System) first: “As with any journey you take, it’s vitally important to first make sure you’re headed in the right direction. So, each morning, check out your landmarks. Look for direction and insight by reading God’s words in the Bible. Take a few moments to talk to God in prayer. Look back over where you traveled the day before and talk with God about anything you wish you’d done differently. Ask Him to help lead you today to make decisions that will draw you closer to Him. Then, venture out into the world with confidence. God has the itinerary for your life held firmly in His hand. Today is yet one more step on the journey He has planned for you to take together – an adventure that will last throughout eternity.”Perhaps a good place to start is Psalm 25.4-9 4 Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; 5guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. 6Remember, O LORD, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old. 7Remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you are good, O LORD. 8Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in his ways. 9He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.
Maps are helpful, but we still have to make our choices and follow the directions. John Eldredge elaborates on this: “The pleasure of a map is that it gives you the lay of the land, and yet you still have to make choices about how you will cover the terrain before you. A map is a guide, not a formula. It offers freedom. It does not tell you how fast to walk, though when you see the contour lines growing very close together, you know you are approaching steep terrain and will want to mend your stride. It does not tell you why the mountain is there, or how old the forest is. It tells you how to get where you are going.”
Would you like to take a summer journey with me? “Fit & Healthy Summer” can be worked through individually or in a group and you can spread the 6-week study out as long as you like. Order a copy from good friends at First Place 4 Health and let me know what you think, ok? http://www.firstplace4health.com/store/?cat=1&item=85
Let this summer be a journey into balanced health by first strategizing and intentionally seeking direction. WHERE do you want to be when June/July/August are over? And WHAT will it take to get there? Every day is unexplored territory. It’s easy to get lost or sidetracked on the way. But the more familiar we are with God and His Map, the easier it will be to discern His Hand along the way.
under the mercy, Cindy
“God’s Word is more than just another book on the shelf. It’s a Road Map for life. Unlike a regular map that contains street names and mileage markers, this Map is written in love letters, history lessons, prophecies, proverbs, biographies, poetry — even postcards from the borders of heaven that sometimes sound like science fiction. But there is a thread of truth running through it all — truth that remains steadfast throughout centuries, millenniums, and eternity itself. This truth helps provide you with what you need to know to navigate your way…” (God’s Road Map for Women)
Blog is excerpted from “Fit & Healthy Summer” by Lucinda Secrest McDowell (Regal 2011)
©2011 Lucinda Secrest McDowell