Last year at this time, I was inching closer to my 2nd mini-marathon. I was running almost daily and accumulating the miles needed to run the race with excellence. I am still shocked at the reality of not only running 13.1 miles but that it was my second time doing it! God is full of surprises!
I am currently not training for any particular race, so I have embraced the simplicity of going on walks in the park... aka my neighborhood. Living in a park, I can literally walk out my front door. Each walk is different. Sometimes I don't bring my phone, sometimes I pray a rosary, sometimes I listen to a podcast, music playlist, or audiobook. Nevertheless, I know I'm just invited to walk.
The nicer the weather in the Midwest, the more neighbors come outside for fresh air. I was especially impacted by a recent lap around the park. As I passed the elementary school playground to turn back onto my street, I encountered a couple of older adults jogging. With my experience training for a race, I can appreciate their efforts of pushing beyond what they think they can accomplish. I noticed they had just transitioned from a walk to a jog a minute before. With warm encouragement in his voice, the man called out, "To the next stop sign!" This stop sign was a block ahead. They had big smiles on their faces and reached the stop sign with pomp and circumstance. He gave her a high five and they transitioned into a speed walk as he praised and prepared her for the next block to come.
Often we can get weighed down by the miles, rather than the block ahead. This overwhelm can cause us to freeze and not take action at all. In the Gospel, Jesus simply invited others to "Follow." He doesn't say where or for how long, but rather put one foot in front of another.
This Lent, Jesus is teaching me about the Father and I'm experiencing the restoration of my identity as God's Beloved Daughter. In my smallness, God can show his greatness. He cheers as I take my own first steps. He lifts me up on His shoulders when I ask. In Joshua 5:6, we learn that "the children of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness." Even though they were in the desert, they kept walking forward.
What small steps can you take this Lent? How is God cheering you on?