Practice the Walk
“Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get into trouble.” Proverbs 13:20
A little known fact about me, I was in some pageants as a teen. Yes, I mean puffy gowns, giant hair and enough make-up to put the band KISS to shame. (OK maybe not quite that much make-up.) I am sure this pageant fact is a surprise to those who know me these days. I am not exactly the person you expect to have a pageant history.
My first pageant I was in the seventh grade and in much need of a confidence boost. Granted, dressing up like cotton candy was probably not the route to achieve that, but it was a learning experience. I had surgery on my toes the week before the pageant. I had to practice walking, and smiling, in my pumps while my toes were bandaged up. This is not an example of walking with the wise. It hurt. The feeling, the attention and the praise I received after the pageant made me forget about my poor little toes. I had to push through the discomfort to achieve what was important to me. In this case, it was walking a stage in a pageant. I did 3 more pageants as a contestant over the next several years. I was not delusional enough to believe I was beauty queen material. I was not willing to walk that walk.
Practice Makes Practice
You have to practice walking to be in a pageant. One foot in front of the other is not enough. You have to turn a certain way. Don’t look down. “Float” in your gigantic dress and uncomfortable shoes. It all boils down to practicing the walk. As Christians we have to practice our walk. Walking in faith with the Father. Walking with our brothers and sister in Christ. Walking to reach out to those still lost. We have to practice this in our daily lives, not just throw on our shoes Sunday and go for it.
I have spent the bulk of my life terrified to lead prayer outside of blessing food and “Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep” with my boys. Why? It is just a conversation with God, who is my Father. It is a chat with my brother, Jesus. The fact is, I was worried about what others thought. Sometimes my prayers are eloquent and lovely. Most of the time, they are just me speaking my heart. Personally, I am finding my prayers that are less than eloquent to be the ones that are most impactful. I stumbled over words when I pray for someone. I jump from person, to subject to person without a whole lot of order. I try to watch what I say. I do not mean to “thee” and “thou” my prayer. I mean watching that I am not speaking in defeat, I try to speak in faith. I make an effort to focus on God’s promise.
This is where practice comes in. I am reading about prayer. Absorbing the word on prayer from my sisters in Christ and from sermons. Every prayer is a practice to be more bold, more faithful, more thankful and so on. God does not need me to be eloquent, He needs me to be genuine.
Devil, Devil Go Away
Yesterday, a quote popped up on Facebook “You Can’t Defeat The Demons You Enjoy Playing With”. That is a whole sermon series in a sentence. Most of us have something we struggle with that we just refuse to leave alone.
I went through a time when depression and anxiety were my demons of comfort. Yep, I called them demons of comfort. I knew them. I knew what to expect and frankly they never surprised me. Misery is misery. Over a year ago I kicked those bad boys to the curb. Another demon for me, was hoping for the best and planning for the worst. Let’s be honest, if we are hoping for the best we cannot even function fully in planning for the worst. They are diametrically opposed concepts. By God’s grace, this one no longer has full-time residence at the Gallien house.
I do have a demon that continues to lurk. Typically he is in the fridge, cupboard, or a drive-thru. My relationship with food. I am not even sure I should blame food. It is the indulgence in food, especially stuff I should stay away from. (Seriously, we got rid of the junk food in our house and when I was cooking I ate a pat of butter. Plain, unsalted butter…really who does that?) I realize my indiscretion with butter is not grounds for an intervention, but this addiction to sugar and fat is certainly not healthy and my scale shows it. The fact is, this is a demon I like to play with. I do not make a conscious effort to “walk the walk” with my food like I do with my prayer life. Someone will not like that comparison and that is okay. It was uncomfortable for me when it came to my mind.
God wants us free of ALL the demons. Another demon I see lurking about is the demon of judgement. I do not mean lovingly trying to guide someone away from sin. I do not mean telling someone a certain action or behavior is not biblical. (We all know there is a right and wrong way to do this.) I mean the judgement we sometimes see or feel in the body of Christ.
Judgement Free Zone (Sorry Planet Fitness…it works here)
I did not want to lead prayer for fear of judgement. In that fear I was judging myself. The church has people from all backgrounds walking through the doors. Some are the very bedrock of the church and may have laid in the cornerstone. Most people who walk through the doors have been damaged. The devil has played in their lives and their minds to the point that even the idea of judgement is enough to drive them away. We cannot undo the past, but we can be freed from it. You can read past blog posts and find that I have walked a rocky trail, but my story is a fairy tale compared to some of the people we will encounter. They need God. They need Christian fellowship. They need loving kindness.
God makes us new creations. The old has passed away. Let’s stop judging people on their past. Let’s stop judging people on their lack of faith or knowledge. A little over a year ago I was in that position. Love and encouragement from my Centerbranch family has moved me closer in and higher up. We owe that to every soul that we encounter. An opportunity to meet Jesus. An opportunity to be made new. When they accept Jesus into their hearts, we a required to treat them like the new creations they have become.
How about you? What demon is it that lurks behind your doorway? What struggle is so familiar to you that you don’t lay it down? Please share in the comments so we can pray for one another. Iron sharpens iron…let’s get busy sharpening…