Keep in Step
If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. (Galatians 5:25, NKJV)
My husband Chresten and I have two beautiful daughters, ages 16 and 11. Our oldest daughter Bonnie just commenced her junior year of high school. But I can vividly remember the launch of her freshman year and entrance into the world of high school. While many of her peers were excited and nervously anticipating the "upgrade", Bonnie continued to confess that she was terrified the summer preceding. "Bonnie, are you getting excited about high school?", innocent friends would ask. "Um, no, I'm actually terrified," she'd repeatedly reply. It got to a point mid-summer where I began to wonder if she was going to be able to make the leap. Beyond Bonnie's beautiful smile lies a lot of social anxiety and sensory sensitivities. She avoids large crowds and habitually seeks solace in alone-ness. Leaping into a sea of 4,000 students each day? Not ideal, to say the least.
One Monday night about eight weeks before the dreaded first day of school I was walking the high school campus while both girls took private lessons nearby. I began to pray over the campus where our soon-to-be 9th grader would be walking daily. I told the Lord, "You're going to have to show me how to get this girl ready. We have done all we know to do and it seems there's no flexibility in her heart. And, Lord, high school is coming, whether we like it or not."
I don't know how the Holy Spirit speaks to you. As a general rule, He speaks to me much like I speak to Him: matter-of-factly. His voice whispered rather directly, "She needs to be walking with you."
"Hmmm...," I thought. "Why didn't I think of that?"
That evening after the girls were in bed I sent a text message to Bonnie's swim coach and let him know we would need to cancel her lessons for the remainder of the summer. "If you can save our spot for the school year, great. But we need to focus on other things right now."
For the next six weeks Bonnie and I walked the perimeter of that high school campus together, putting words to her fears, speaking the Word over her fears, and tackling the practics of what this new season would include. Once she had picked up her schedule of classes, we began to walk her daily route. The week before school was to start we began to time her commute from one class to the next, showing her that she actually could walk the length of the campus within the time allotted. The night before the first day, Chresten, Bonnie, and I made one final walk of the campus and stopped to pray together at the conclusion.
When I looked back over those few months come October, I was able to smile with tear-filled eyes as I recalled all that God had done for our girl. When it was time to board the bus that first morning, she was undoubtedly nervous. But she was also undoubtedly confident with an "I can do this" expression on her face that I'll forever have etched in my memory. And while she has never been prone to text me from school, I received an unexpected text from her over her lunch period simply saying, "Hi, Mom! So far, so good."
I'm sharing this experience with you today to remind you that God cares about every detail of your life. He sees the stress. He rejoices in the victories. And He has a solution for the dilemmas. In fact, the Holy Spirit is on the ready to share those solutions...when we ask Him to. I can't tell you the number of times I solicit His help throughout my daily life. At work, I've been known to say out loud, "Lord, I need Your help. I don't know what is causing this glitch, but it needs to be fixed NOW. Show me what to do." Within minutes, a thought enters my mind and seamlessly becomes the solution I was seeking.
Is this accidental? No.
The apostle Paul wrote to the Galatians to encourage them with the superpowers that come with being filled with and led by the Holy Spirit. Throughout the fifth chapter of Galatians, Paul reminds the believers, "There are results on either side of this pendulum. Which results are you after?" In verse 25 he wrote, "If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit." The NIV translation prompts us to "keep in step with the Spirit". The paraphrase of the Message Bible says it like this:
"Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives."
There is so much wisdom, counsel, and clarity to be discovered when we take what we possess through the Holy Spirit from just an idea in our heads or sentiment in our hearts, or dare I say, a figure of speech in our mouths, and allow His Word to be the final word in our daily lives.
What are you facing today? It doesn't have to be overwhelming for you to stop and breathe a prayer, requesting His help. I can tell you this--you'll be overwhelmed with gratitude on a continual basis when you begin to see His hand guiding you, step by step. This is the kind of life we have chosen. So let's make sure we keep in step with the Spirit. There's no way to miss when we are following that track.
Bridgette Tomlin, founder of Sanctuary, is a wife, mother of two girls, and 'minister of the et cetera' alongside her husband, Chresten from Tulsa, Oklahoma. She loves a great cup of steaming hot tea, the blessing of quiet spaces where she can think now and again, and the art of a handwritten note. While she's a vocalist, speaker, writer, and administrator, Bridgette's heart is fully engaged in connecting every woman to their God-given call and gifts with authentic candor. You can follow her blog from their ministry site.