(I am so excited for you to hear from our guest writer, Wendy Pierce, today!)
Walking has become my new hobby these days. I cannot believe the amount of time I have spent walking around my neighborhood.
It started out of a need to get away from the chaos of the house. But this new hobby has continued out of the need for personal alone time talking with Jesus. Being someone who constantly likes to be doing things, I wasn’t sure that I would be the kind of person that would pick up “COVID hobbies” like all the Instagram posts hinted at. But here we are several months in and I seem to have picked up more than I knew.
I have also become an avid bird watcher, frequently enjoyed overwatering all my houseplants, spending an hour almost every day reading by the kiddie pool, and of course, like most bored Americans in April, I went through the Tiger King phase. All that to say, I’m learning about some things I didn’t really have time for until now.
Learning to walk with God
Taking a walk (or many walks) every day eventually brought me to wander down new streets. While walking, I pray, think, and try to listen to what God might want to say. I’m doing my best to literally walk with God in these days. This kind of soulish conversation with the Lord often graciously distracts my thoughts. The problem is, the soulish conversations with God also distracts me from being completely aware of my surroundings.
I can’t even count how many times I have been caught off guard and screamed because a dog started barking at me. Big dogs, little dogs, sometimes it’s even cats meowing. Every time I get angry and feel the clench of fear in the pit of my stomach. The type of fear that jumps in when I feel most vulnerable. I do not like feeling vulnerable.
Trying to control or avoid what causes me fear
At first, I attempted to memorize where the dogs live so they wouldn’t surprise me. Then I thought maybe I would just stick to a specific route that didn’t have dogs. Then, one morning in my startled frustration, I finally said “Jesus! What the heck is this? Why do you keep letting me get so scared? I am trying to walk with you. Why!?”
It was in my moment of honesty with Him about these dogs, in the midst of a hobby I never would have started without a pandemic, that I heard the gentle nudge of the Spirit say, “What if when they surprised you, instead of clenching in fear, you were able to rejoice in faith? You could even be glad.”
Being led back to God
Like these four-legged friends, the circumstances of our world are fenced in, restrained, and useful in leading us back to our Creator. Acts 17 reminds us that the same Lord who created the world and everything in it established boundaries for the time and place each one of us would have life and breath.
He knew about the dogs, but he also knew about the virus. He knows about the changes we get every day to the kids’ school routine, he planned out the crazy weather patterns that tore through our state, and the political and racial conflict, tension, and tragedy that hits not only the headlines but also your heartstrings.
But He isn’t just aware, He is active.
He put us here to walk this life, where despite all our best efforts to control or avoid our way around the circumstances, we will have no other choice than to allow the unexpected to either clench us in fear or call us to rejoice in faith.
The passage in Acts goes on to say that His purpose in all of this was that we would seek Him and maybe even, in our inability to see what He’s doing right now, faithfully feel our way toward Him. And when we do, He promises to be right there – not far from us at all!
Scripture is full of these opportunities for people to choose faith in the moment of alarm.
Soak in the feeling of each moment as you imagine the very first raindrops that came down to earth in Noah’s time, Joseph laying eyes on his brothers after decades of being cut off and betrayed, Moses encountering a burning and speaking bush, the storm on the sea that quickly seemed to overcome Jesus’ disciples or the shock of the empty tomb on Easter morning. Let God’s mercy wash over you as you reflect on the way that each of those stories was met with His faithfulness, provision, and triumph.
What in your life is startling you today?
What’s been put in your path that you didn’t see coming? If you are a warm body living through the year 2020, you probably have a running list. Will you let the God who made the world do a Psalm 30 miracle and turn your mourning into dancing? Your panic into laughter? Are you ready to look into the empty tomb, where helplessness, fear, and desperation have taken residence, only to find that inescapable hope is awaiting you if you will only turn to see Him there with you, alive and ruling over everything?
Have I stopped screaming yet when I get surprised by my canine neighbors?
I’d like to say I have, but truth be told, no. Just yesterday I just about fell on the ground in terror as a little terrier yipped at me from a car passing by. But this time I paused, I smiled, and I turned to the Lord – thanking Him for such a silly revelation that carries such a big hope. He has assured me that the blessing He wants to give me won‘t come easily or all at once, but instead that He will allow me the regular joy of turning and trusting in Him again.
Wendy Pierce is the Member Engagement Director at Cottage Grove Church in Des Moines. Originally from Ames, IA, Wendy began her over 15-year career in ministry at Cornerstone Church where she led in youth and community ministries. Wendy is passionate about empowering women and men to discover and use their gifts in order to flourish in the church. In her free time, Wendy enjoys spending time with her husband Travis, and their two children Savannah and Charlie. Wendy also enjoys karaoke, bird-watching, and being anywhere in the sun. —
You might also enjoy:
- 4 Steps to Help You Fight Anxiety and Worry
- Waiting on God in the Midst of His Silence
- How Can We Walk With God