2,248 MILES

I could have walked from Atlanta to Los Angeles by now, or to put it on a more global scale, almost halfway across Russia from east to west, or the same distance across Africa from north to south.  For today marks exactly one year since I began my streak of walking at least five miles a day, and more recently, seven or eight.

It’s been an interesting experiment, to be sure.  For a little like those postal carriers of old who let neither “snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night” stay them from “their appointed rounds,” over the past twelve month, I’ve walked primarily outdoors, too, only substituting hotel or gym treadmills when necessary.  My faithful co-trekker for much of it has been my wife, but other times I’ve walked alone, giving me lots of chances to ponder and pray, an occupational hazard for any preacher who, given the time, will quite naturally come up with several points and maybe even a poem or so.

I’ve discovered anew, for instance, the power of habit.  For even though I never really intended to go for 365 days in a row, what began as much smaller goals– a week, a month, 50 days, 100 days–soon turned into more extensive ones.  And to be honest, the only thing that actually got me up and out there at six in the morning some days was simply the streak itself, and my obsessive-compulsive fear that if I broke it, I would never go this long again.

Likewise, I also figured out that the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu was right about the journey of a thousand miles beginning with a single step, or as his famous proverb more correctly is translated, it begins “beneath one’s feet.”  For had anyone suggested to me last July that I would make a 4,418,130 step journey on foot, I would have simply laughed, forgetting that all great things do indeed start from humble beginnings.

Through it all, however, my fitness tracker has been absolutely unbending when it comes to resetting the count all over again every 24 hours at midnight.  For to keep the streak going, daily goals required daily responses, and try as I may, I could never figure out how to bank any extra miles from one day to the next.

And all of this would also seem to be true in the spiritual life.  For it is the holy habits we develop (such as prayer, scripture reading, and worship) that slowly but surely change the other facets of our lives as well. Similarly, every good work we might ask God to do in us always begins beneath our own feet, as we step out in faith to respond to His winsome call to “Follow Me.”

What’s more, that journey of discipleship is indeed a daily one, aptly expressed in the Hebrew word halak.  For though our salvation may have been secured in the past, it is always worked out in the present to those who are “being saved.” (1 Corinthians 1.18)  And in the end, it’s not just about imitation, but about intimacy with God as well.  For at numerous points in the Bible we are told that individuals such as Abraham and Enoch “walked with God,” hand-in-hand as friends with their Creator too.

Of course, someone might also point out that having expended an extra 316,667 calories over the last year that I should actually have lost ninety pounds.  But then that really wasn’t the point of it all.  For in the end, most journeys, including spiritual ones, are not really about what you lose, but about what you gain.

And as Year Two begins, I plan to be back out there again tomorrow morning.  After all, I still have to go at least another 1500 miles or so just to get home from California.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to 2,248 MILES

  1. kenc2414@aol.com says:

    And I think that I am doing good to walk a mile and a half on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays at the First Colony Mall.–But, I do miss some and actually fear try to find excuses for doing so.  Says a lot about me and kudos for you and your determination.  Hope I am not doing the same in my spiritual commitment. But, maybe so.Peace,ken

  2. William Hood says:

    Great example and wisdom not only for physical health but spiritual. Only if I am willing to walk with HIM can i get from where I am to where he is calling me to go with HIM.

  3. MARY E CARR says:

    Inspiring as I am struggling to build up strength for a trip to Israel in the fall!! I shall attempt to get back into “good habit” making!

    Sent from my iPhone


  4. Lori Beard says:

    Wow! Great points to consider, Chap! I am guilty of being lazy when I don’t get in my good habit mode, both physically and spiritually. Thank you for your example and for sharing this!

  5. larry harman says:

    Outstanding! Congrats are in order! Keep on truckin’ (as the old saying goes) in your earthly & spiritual walks! I am blessed to have you as a friend to share the journey….h

  6. Sandy Crow says:

    That was just what I needed today! I was on a six month streak of an hour or more of moderate exercise a day and then I broke my ankle in two places. I am in the limping stage kof recovery right now and walking is off the table but I can still use my recumbent bike etc but have not had the motivation. I began just like you did with mini goals. Now you’ve encouraged me to get back on track!

  7. Sandy Crow says:

    Chap, three years ago I just felt stuck in life, seriously stuck. Everyday I was going to do better tomorrow but my tomorrow’s always lacked needed motivation. January 1 2017 I decided that I would do 5 things a day, something spiritual, physical, emotional, creative, and a “westward ho”. It only had to be super simple, the whole 5 taking only 5 minutes or less a day. Read one Bible verse, walk in place for one minute, look at one creative magazine page, read or talk to someone to regain emotional well being and finally westward ho. That was anything that would move me from the desolate place I was to the new country (life) I wanted to be in. Sometimes that something was as simple as finding a home for something in the house that was out of place. By now it is probably obvious how very stuck I was. Well here are some successes. Since 2017 I have read my Bible through twice and am presently on my third time. I think creatively all the time now. I feel much stronger emotionally and have made great strides overcoming codependency. We are looking forward to what place in the body the Lord would have us at this time in life and much of that direction comes from what we learned from you. Share group in particular. Like I said in the previous comment I got derailed with exercise when I broke my ankle in two places last September along with a long slow recovery but your blog post was the final encouragement I needed to get back on track. I just need to start off with smaller goals than I’ve been designing for myself. 😊

  8. Nancy says:

    Great!! And good for you – skinny man!

  9. Judy Robertson says:

    Exceptional thoughts to ponder for both one’s physical being and one’s spiritual life!

  10. Pingback: chappelltemple | 2,248 MILES – christian-99.com

  11. Paula Ruth Gochnour says:

    Chap, It’s good to hear you are making this effort. The next thing to try is balance exercises. (You can google them or ask your personal trainer.) I found them for my Dad after he fell last winter. It can be really hard to stand on one leg for 30 seconds in various positions. When you do the exercises regularly, you can, and this should help the next time you climb to a mountaintop on rough terrain. When you do not do them for a couple days, it is almost as if you had never done them at all, so there is probably a sermon in finding balance as you approach any important issue.

  12. Paul Broyles says:

    This is not a reply per se.

    It was great to see you and your wife on the parking bus today. Safe travels and God Bless. I do still enjoy your blog. 😁

    Paul Broyles

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s