Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Journey Continues

I wrote this a while back and entered it into the Inspirational Writing catagory of the Writer's Digest Writing Competition... and won an honorable mention! That means I was in the top 100 of my catagory. In about 10 catagories, there were over 19,000 entries. Yes, I am excited. No, there is no prize money and my story is not published... but maybe God will be able to use all these words that circle around in my head...

The Journey Continues

I have an old pair of hiking boots. They are scuffed and scarred, covered with cuts and nicks. The soles are worn nearly smooth and are beginning to separate. There is a big gash in the back of the left one. No amount of polish can make them look good, they are no longer waterproof, and they don’t get good traction. Yet I have hesitated to get new ones and part with them.
New boots require shopping, spending money, wondering if the new boots are going to be what I really need, and then breaking them in… and I do not look forward to those things. But even more than that, when I lace up those old boots I am reminded of all the places they have taken me. From trails at Oak Mountain across town to the mountains of Transylvania across the world. From the good old American mall to the downtown shopping district of Budapest. From group hikes with my karate friends or mission teams, to hiking with a friend, to hiking all alone. From hikes filled with joy at the company I am with or the country I am seeing, to lonely hikes taken in times of great stress and heartache. From motorcycle rides to family camp outs. I love each of these memories, and those boots are a symbol of them all for me.

But the old boots no longer serve their main purpose… protecting my feet and giving me sure footing over rough terrain. It is time to move on from the past and look to the future, time to hike and ride, not just remember past hikes and past rides. And so last week, with my Christmas money, I bought a new pair of boots. I tried on at least a dozen pair before bringing one home. I rubbed mink oil into them. I started wearing them for short periods of time. I began thinking about a long hike in the spring, and a long motorcycle trip. I am looking to the future.

Philippians 3:13-14
Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. NIV

In this passage Paul says to forget what is behind. I don’t think he means to not remember the past anymore, if you take the entire Bible in context you see constant reminders of what God has done in the past and admonitions to remember all that God has taught us and done for us. But Paul doesn’t strive for the past, he doesn’t live in past defeats or glories; he reaches for the future. He looks to God, he focuses on Christ. He lives each moment now, knowing that the past led him to where he is and that God will take him to heaven in the end. And in this moment, he has a job to do. What an awesome outlook on life!

I look at my boots and I remember where I’ve been. Those boots have taken me many places where I have learned many things. But where will I go now? That is what I have to decide. The past is back there somewhere, the bad cannot be changed nor can the good be re-lived. Now it is time to continue the journey.

Rebecca A Givens
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