Walk-Talks: Learning to swing

Walk-talks:  a time set aside for a long walk and conversation with Jesus and a friend. Anyone who asks me out for a walk-talk is likely to get a “yes” response from me, but my most faithful walk-talk companion is Ruth.swing girl

Why?  1. The girl can move quickly over a long distance while 2. maintaining challenging ‘iron sharpens iron’ conversation with Jesus and me.  At the end of our walk-talks, driving home sweaty, I feel like I got my cake and the ice cream too.

Lately tho (due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control) I find myself, more often than not, walking alone with Jesus.  It’s a season.  Don’t get me wrong, I love conversation with Jesus, however, I know He’ll talk with me anywhere & anytime.

I’m convinced a primary reason for this season of walk-talks with only Jesus is to highlight for me how easily I am drawn to fellowship with people rather than solitude with my Savior.  I don’t like to admit it, but I have to confess, it’s unfortunately true. Thank You, Jesus, for making me aware of my default patterns.

Recently, with new insight, I refused to let myself off the hook.  The rain had stopped. Temperatures were a bit cooler with less humidity, and I really felt the nudge of Holy Spirit to go for it.  A walk-talk after work – me and Jesus.

Walking the oval track around our local park I could hear a mother teaching her child how to swing – the mechanics of creating momentum.  Instantly, my mind searched old files to recall similar times of enjoyment with my own two sons at this same park – learning to swing.swing at the park

“Pump your legs… pull back with your legs.  Now push forward – legs out.

Again.  Pump your legs.

Pull back.  Push forward.  Pull back.

Push forward.  Pull back.”

Not watching, only hearing the mother instructing her child as I walked, I could picture the scenario in my mind’s eye.  I could see her coaching her child with a sparkle of delight in her eye, and I could see chubby child legs pumping with all her might – pulling back and stretching forward.  The scene, current and in my memory, caused me to smile.

“Come on…pump your legs.  You’re doing it!  Good job.  Pull back.  Push forward.”

Pondering in my walk-talk with Jesus, I began to glean a spiritual metaphor.

but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
    they shall mount up with wings like eagles…    Isaiah 40:31 esv

As a child, hopping onto a swing – pumping my little legs for all their worth – I challenged myself to soar ever higher.  I gained momentum.  The wind stretched my face and caused my long hair to wave like a flag.  I was free.  I was flying!

swing flying high

The physical actions of swinging – pulling back and stretching forward – remind me of following Jesus as His disciple.

Yes, I want to feel the fullness of living free.

I want to fly high…soar on the heights…feel the wind of Holy Spirit on my face…delight in His presence…experience the abundant victorious life.

Don’t you?

At least on this side of Heaven, we are not able to sustain a constant soaring up and forward journey with Christ.  Just as gravity pulls us back toward the earth, the daily struggle with our flesh tends to pull us back from the mountain highs of victorious living. When we’re flying free, enjoying the heights of blessing and abundance, we have a propensity to think we’re doing it on our own.  If all we experience is soaring, it will be easy to lose sight of our need for Jesus.

To pull back is to remember.  Remembering is a necessary aspect of our Jesus discipleship journey.  Pulling back from the high places, we remember the times of need and lack and dependence.  Pulling back, we remember the Lord, Good Shepherd, and His care for us.

Pulling back, remembering our inability to soar on our own, we become grounded again.  And in the pulling back further, remembering God’s consistent faithfulness to us, we build momentum.

To push forward is to believe.  Believing afresh is what takes the momentum of remembering and pushes us forward to stretch in faith toward a new height.  Faith and trust are strengthened with each repetition, and we’re spurred on to follow Jesus to heights yet unreached.

It’s exhilarating once again to believe, to know experientially, our Savior is enough to reach for.  Chasing after Jesus with renewed vigor fulfills our deepest longing – the abundant life of being in His presence.swing learning how

We’re joyful with Holy Spirit wind blowing across our faces and through our hair.  Like the swing seat holding a child, truth undergirds us. Like the chains which hold the seat, faith and love hold us secure.

All of a sudden we recognize we are flying, experiencing the full freedom of the abundant victorious life – following Jesus.

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits,                 …who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.    Psalm 103:2 & 5 esv