When the sheltering-at-home orders began in March, we found ourselves together in the house all day long. On many spring and summer nights after dinner, I’d look at my husband and three daughters and say, “Let’s go for a walk.”
I may have well been saying, “I need to get out of here.” And my people all understood.
We would slip into flip flops and Birkenstocks and head out the front door. According to the dictionary, to walk means “to advance or travel on foot at a moderate speed or pace.”
Our pace was more of a stroll.
Unhurried and unharried, we did not walk with a specific purpose or agenda besides simply breathing some fresh air and being together. We would walk in groups of two or three and settle into a slow pace that enabled us to talk and observe.
My girls know I am a sunset chaser. Ever since my late husband Ericlee soared to heaven in 2014, I have found great comfort in the unique ways God paints the sky each night. The swirl of colors – sometimes in baby pastels, sometimes in richer, jewel tones – always reminds me that God is our Creator and holds all things in His hands.
Our family loves to serpentine through the neighborhood and follow the cul-de-sacs. We make a point of walking down that one street where roses line the walkway. We oooh and ahhh together at the roses twirling their petal skirts. We peek at the ripe fruit hanging over fences and check out the homes for sale.
In those early weeks, we noticed lots of other families were out too. We saw neighbors walking their dogs, groups of tweens riding their bikes and scooters, and even some grandparents ambling through the streets pushing babies in strollers. We waved and chatted socially-distanced, six feet (or more) apart.
We quickly realized these circumstances, which required so many to stay at home, were giving us more points of connection than ever before. We have only been living in this particular neighborhood for two years. My daughters observed there are way more kids living in our neighborhood than we had thought.
My heart also soared when I noted the cultural diversity among my neighbors. We passed many speaking in other mother tongues and with a diversity of skin tones. In an uncertain world, I felt somehow more at home in my own brown skin.
As we were simply putting one foot in front of the other, our little family also connected with each other more too. Sisters, who were frequently squabbling at the dinner table, were naturally linking arms and laughing together as they walked. I had more of a chance to unpack the day’s events and my heart’s worries with my husband Shawn.
Walking is an important mode of transportation mentioned frequently in the Bible. In a spiritual sense, walking with God means to abide with Him, obey His commands, and keep a deliberate pace, following His lead.
Adam and Eve hear God “walking in the garden” in Genesis 3:8. This very vivid description of God tells us something about our heavenly Father. Our all-powerful, all-knowing, omnipresent God longs for personal connection with His children. There is an intimacy that grows in walking together.
Throughout the Old Testament, we read accounts of people of faith walking with God. Enoch lived a total of 365 years walking with His heavenly Father. Genesis 5:24 says, “Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.”
In Genesis 6:9, we read about Noah walking with God: “Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God.” God was Noah’s pacer and gave him assurance as he built the ark with no sign of rain on the horizon.
Paul reminds us to walk with good form: “ . . . walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:1-3).
1 John 2:6 also highlights the concept of walking: “Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” John is talking about daily living out our faith by following Jesus’ example.
Jesus deliberately chose to walk shoulder-to-shoulder with people. He was the Messiah-King, but He did not travel in a chariot or ride a majestic horse like other kings of His time. He didn’t tool around town in a Tesla or a limousine.
Jesus walked, and He invites each of us to follow Him.
He walked up a great hill carrying a cross and then died on that cross so that every one of us would have the invitation to walk across a path of grace and into heaven one day.
Friend, let Jesus pace you. Resist the urge to run ahead or lag behind. Instead, walk with Him.
In what ways has walking brought more connection for you with people or God?