I hate snakes.
This normally is no biggie. It’s not like I work in the reptile section of the local zoo or anything.
But last week, I decided to start exercising regularly. If you are like me, finding the time to sneeze can be challenging, let alone for all that goes into exercise: getting ready to work out, driving to work out, working out, driving back from working out, and then showering and getting ready from having worked out.
I’m practical. Wasting all of that extra time doesn’t make sense. The best use of my time, then, is to go for a walk in all my natural morning radiance (translation: no makeup) right out my back door.
The problem with this plan of attack?
I always, ALWAYS see at least one snake on my walk/runs (What is a walk/run, you ask? A walk that, at some point, has a few minutes of sadly pathetic running thrown in for good measure).
My husband went on a walk/run once with me. He loves snakes. He figured that he’d get to see what “all the fuss was about” when we spotted the first slimy little dude. You can guess what happened that day, right? No “alive” snake. Just a boring skin. (Still not a thrill to see, in my humble opinion, as that just tells me something used to BE in that skin at some point! Where’d that guy go???)
After one particularly scary walk/run by myself this past week, I saw two very much alive snakes at two different points of my trip. I became obsessed the rest of the time with looking two feet in front of me. I scanned the sidewalk back and forth. I listened for every suspiciously slithery sound in the grass nearby.
I started to panic.
There was a group of young children across the street, but I could not look at them for a second in case I might miss a snake while my attention was diverted from the sidewalk.
I thought, “How do people say that walking or running gives them this great quiet time? How they get in touch with God? How do they pray? All I can do is think about the two feet in front of me the whole time. This is so NOT relaxing.”
Of course it isn’t relaxing. Not this way, at least…not when I am looking, with fear, for obstacles. I am listening for confirmation that I have a valid reason to be afraid (and I will find it, because I am looking so fervently). I am letting the fear dictate where I go. The fear is so great that, if I let it, the fear will win and I will not walk/run again. I will have a great excuse: “Well, I tried working out, but I don’t have the time to go to the gym, and there are too many snakes around my house.”
The snakes win.
But what if I stop being short-sighted? What if I stop looking within the two feet around me for excuses not to go after my goal and start looking beyond instead? Is my goal within God’s plan? Is it something He wants for me? If so, then what am I doing focusing on the snakes instead of focusing on Him?
Have you quit a goal after your snakes sent you packing? How can you defeat your own snakes the next time they slither into your path?
If I look up and not down, if I acknowledge the obstacles but don’t let them control me, if I tune out the hiss of a desperate enemy who desires to distract me from my purpose, I can, with God’s help, get beyond the two feet in front of me. I’ll see and smell the beautiful wildflowers. I’ll see and hear the happy children playing across the street. I’ll see and hear the birds fluttering by.
I might even get to have a quiet and profound conversation with God.
Here’s to taking on snakes.
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