I love that when I workout at our local YMCA I hear the encouragement of my favorite Christian artists piped through the music system, and that the last thing I see as I leave is encouragement from God’s word ~ a verse written daily on the white board near the exit.
On second thought, today might have been a little embarrasing as tears rolled down my cheeks upon hearing Matt Maher’s ‘Christ is Risen.’ Hopefully, my fellow Y athletes just thought I working through the burn…well, nevermind.
The verse though was one I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.
“The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” Proverbs 16:9
I’ve been thinking about this verse for the past couple of weeks since a new reality in my life has to do with the pedometer affixed to my clothing on a daily basis. As a participant in a medical trial, one of the requirements is to try to log in 10,ooo steps a day. You might know that this is the current recommended level of minimum activity for fitness. And if you know me, my former existence fell far short of the minimum. And yet I am determined to meet the goal.
Even with my newfound determination logging in 10,000 steps isn’t always easy. I’m finding it certainly takes a trip to the Y most days, which requires me to plan well to set aside the time. “The mind of a woman plans her way…” This is how the verse first came to me. I was dutifully headed to the Y to log in my steps when my cell phone rang.
My friend had just come in to town and wanted to have coffee. Knowing she’s been having a rough time lately I figured I could visit the Y later, so I agreed to meet her. “…but the Lord directs my steps.” In these moments, a friendship was deepened. We spoke words of encouragement to one another. And God was praised for His goodness. I never did make it to the Y that day.
That’s when the verse came to my mind. And a gentle whisper from the Lord about priorities and balance. Ironically, it was another, not-so-gentle, whisper that had prompted me to join the medical trial and so when this nudge came it reminded me that no matter what God asks me to do, it is my obedience to the thing He places before me at the moment that matters.
Adding steps to my pedometer may help my waistline and my overall health. And it’s tempting to guard that time from anything that seems like an interruption in my life. But, as we learned this summer in Priscilla Shirer’s Jonah study, the decision to go or not go to coffee with a friend in need could have eternal consequences. It is more likely that God has arranged a divine intervention for His own plans and purposes.
May we never hold too tightly to our own plans that we miss the opportunity to participate in His. As He says in Isaiah 55 ~ His ways are not our ways, nor His thoughts our thoughts. I pray that we each one would seek Him daily to be in tune to the Spirit whom He uses to direct our steps.
Speaking of steps, anyone wanna go to the Y?