I have a habit, when walking, of picking a route and not entertaining detours, slowing down, taking breaks or turning back. Once I start walking, I just keep walking, just keep walking, just keep walking, walking walking, all I have to do is walk, walk, walk!
Ridgecrest, California is a quiet, sleepy, peaceful town. It’s a great place for walkers and joggers, especially where my sister and her family live. I went on almost daily walks while I was visiting her and was constantly second guessing myself. Should I turn onto a side street? Should I pause at this spot and sit down for a bit? Should I double-back and be seen walking in the opposite direction?
On one of my walks in Ridgecrest, I was ruminating on why I was so stuck in this pattern and why it was so difficult for me to slow down, pause, take a break, or divert from my plans. As I neared a place where I felt I could stop and write, I decided instead to keep moving forward. After taking a couple steps, I stopped walking because I felt very strongly that I should go back. After a few seconds of wrestling with myself, I returned to the small play area - complete with a bench for resting and a spectacular view of the Sierra Mountains.
In life moving forward, in any sensible way, often means taking different turns or turning back when you’ve taken a wrong turn. If you’re a Christian, you also have to ensure that you are listening to God’s direction and not following your own, especially if He’s telling you to take a path that does not look favourable to you.
“Consider your ways” the prophet Haggai says to the people of Judah while they toiled fruitlessly and neglected their spiritual duties.
But why should we consider our ways?
Considering requires reflecting and thinking carefully about something. It requires pausing as you walk through life, looking down at where you are, looking back at where you’ve come from, and looking ahead to where you think you’re going.
It can also mean, considering how you behave. How do you treat people? How do you treat yourself? How do you treat God?
Or maybe it means considering your ambitions. What are you focusing on? What are you working towards? Are you working towards anything? Are you achieving it?
What about considering your thoughts? What are you thinking about? Should you be thinking about these things? Are they profitable thoughts?
For the Christian, it involves asking God: “Am I following You? Am I following at Your pace and in Your way? Am I too distracted to know Your way? Am I seeking first Your kingdom or am I pursuing the other things that I think I need added to me?
‘Consider your ways’ requires careful examination of self and guidance in truth. It requires humility and patience. It requires quiet, to think and pray and reflect. It requires a significant change of pace so that you can hear and discern and understand.