I have a confession to make. I have a habit of not praying for certain things because I’m scared that God might actually answer my request. Do you ever do that, or is that just me? But I think sometimes my spirit prays on my behalf. Something deep within me knows what would be best and consults with God and sends me a memo about it later.
Case in point. For months, I have been the epitome of poor self-care. I have not eaten well, exercise has been a dirty word, and my sleep patterns have been that of an owl. I developed really bad habits like ice cream for dinner, watching Friends until 2:30 a.m., and not even pretending to face each day until after noon. I knew that something needed to change, but of course, I wasn’t going to pray about it because that might mean I would have to take action.
That’s when the push came.
I was out walking sweet little Coco when I ran into a neighbor I hadn’t seen in months. We started to chat about life, and I was so saddened to learn that she was still unemployed after nearly a year. She too was struggling with depression and the endless search for a job. Also a believer, she knew that God had a plan, but she still grappled with what to do in the meantime.
That’s when it happened. She invited me to start walking with her two days a week. Oh no. Not only did I not want to walk, but I also didn’t want to be social. I was stuck. I couldn’t come up with any reason to say no, and I had a suspicion that her invitation was an answer to a prayer that my sneaky spirit prayed without me knowing. Deep in my heart, I knew that fellowship and community between two struggling believers would be part of our healing… part of His plan.
The day to walk rolled around and I really didn’t want to go.
I was quite thankful to have a cold and cough that prevented me from taking a stroll. I just couldn’t face the unexpected conversation and the ache of a body way out of shape. So, I dodged that bullet, but I knew the next excursion would come. A week went by before our schedules would line up again. I was dressed and ready to meet my neighbor at 4 p.m. In fact, I was outside chilling on a bench just before walking to her place when I got a text at 3:55. She had a migraine and would need to postpone. I had canceled on her the week before, so I extended nothing but grace. Now I had a choice to make. Go back home and sit on the couch to watch more Hallmark murder mysteries, OR put one foot in front of the other and get my booty in gear. I was all ready to go… time to walk.
With each step, I was amazed at what surrounded me.
Everywhere I turned there was a cornucopia of color and an array of God’s creatures. A large yellow butterfly followed me for several paces. Then I came across a red ladybug, which seemed so profound given that I just re-watched The Shack earlier in the day. So much beauty all around, and all just outside my door. For 45 minutes I walked the trail, taking in my surroundings and chatting with God. He reminded me that sometimes the best thing we can do is get outside of ourselves. Something as simple as changing the environment and focusing on something other than our depressing thoughts can restore our spirit. I was inspired, and I felt like a weight on my heart was starting to lift.
Without a commitment to my neighbor, I would have never taken that first step.
I have always heard Christians say, “If you can’t, God can” or, “If you don’t know how, He does.” God knew there was no way I was going to exercise on my own. I was even reluctant to take the dog out to tinkle that first day I ran into my neighbor, but my obligation to my fur baby drove me… and the fact that I didn’t want her little bladder to burst. So, God used that moment when I was walking Coco to show me His beauty. He knew I would end up at my neighbor’s door, and that she would invite me to walk, and He knew I had absolutely no reason to say no. I was pigeon-holed but in the best way possible.
It was God’s love on display.
I believe that even the smallest of things matter to our Father. I knew God loved me enough to get me out of my head and into His creation. He understood exactly where I was. He knew I needed a push outside of myself, and He equipped me to follow through. If my neighbor had canceled earlier in the day, I can guarantee you that I would not have taken that walk. God knew that too. I had to be dressed and outside before that text could come.
I am still discovering the depths of God’s love, and I am blown away at the levels He will go to reach me, to reach my heart. God isn’t upset that I am struggling with depression and somedays can’t move off the couch. Instead, He loves me exactly where I am. He uses what I can do, to then do what only He can do. Sometimes I just need a push.