Sometimes I believe we can learn the biggest lessons, and gain the biggest insights – simply by watching our kids. Recently my husband and I spent the afternoon with our kiddos at a water-park. As soon as we got to the park we found a few empty chairs, threw our stuff on the chairs and jumped into the lazy river. The heat was insane, and the best relief was to be IN the water to beat the heat. My kiddos let me get nice and relaxed and then decided it was time to get OUT of the lazy river, and to move to the SLIDES, they were ready for adventure! Drew and the kids were first out of the lazy river. As we started walking on the concrete path, both kids immediately started jumping up and down and searching for ways for their little bare feet to handle the heat. For about a minute it was like a little game for them, they were helping each other find little puddles to splash in and they were looking for any shady spaces along the path.
But then, while both kids were trailing behind their 6’4” Daddy – Davis found the perfect ‘protection’ for their little feet from the heat. He started saying, “Look Maddy! Look! Just follow Daddy’s shadow!!! Try it! Try it! It’s not as hot if you chase his shadow!”
I watched their 4 little feet bounce from space to space making sure to never leave his shadow. They were following his leading to the water slides, they were not watching him to know where or how he was getting to the slide – they were simply bouncing and laughing behind him TRUSTING his leading and KNOWING that they were SAFE as long as they stayed in his shadow.
It was in the giggles, silliness, and carefree moment of my kids following their Daddy’s shadow that I was reminded of something so simple yet so remarkable; my heavenly Daddy wants me to follow His leading just the same. He wants me to stay so close to Him, that I am protected under His ‘shadow’, that my every single step is guided and protected by Him and Him alone.
Too many times I am guilty of wanting to take the ‘lead’, to take the HOT steps outside of the shadow, simply because I think that I can HANDLE this journey on my own. But it’s in those moments that I become so aware, that I can NOT take ONE safe step alone. It is the closeness to my Heavenly Father that keeps my journey on the RIGHT path, the BEST path for my life. You see, my kids weren’t concerned about WHERE they were walking, or how they were getting there. They were simply concerned about staying IN the shadow, staying CLOSE enough that there feet would not burn.
Did the shadow really keep their little feet from burning on the hot ground, no. But rather the shadow kept them in the proximity of safety. The safety was there to provide relief from the heat, as well, to provide direction on the journey. So this week watching my carefree giggly kiddos, I am reminded that no matter WHERE I am going or how HOT and uncomfortable my life gets at times – as long as I take every STEP in my Father’s Shadow leaning not on my own securities or own understandings, I can NOT miss it.
For years I have been able to quote Proverbs 3:5-6 – trust in the Lord with ALL your heart and lean NOT on your own understanding; in ALL your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. But it was in this simple life moment that it became alive in my heart. The same way my kids followed their Daddy’s shadow, NOT understanding it and simply submitting to his direction – that they found PEACE and DIRECTION. If they can find that in the small shadow of their Daddy, what does MY Father has planned for me as I follow Him?
It is when I try to take my walk alone, that I mess up. It’s when I try to lead my life on what I think is the best path, without His leading that I get it all wrong. It is when I look to solutions on my own to make my life easier that I realize the ONLY thing I have to do is lean into my Father’s shadow and His presence and I have all of the comfort and safety that I need. Following Him doesn’t always mean it’s the EASIEST journey, but I have found time after time that it’s the ONLY journey I want to be on.
So, what is it in your life that you need to stop trying to walk all alone in, and that you need to lean into the ONLY one that can LEAD you while PROTECTING you? What do you need to begin to TRUST the Lord with and lean NOT on your own understanding for?
It’s amazing WHERE He will take you and how He will PROTECT you as you walk WITH Him. So today, I challenge you to throw the flip-flops aside, and walk on the HOT pavement as you stay CLOSE to Him – SHADOW STEPPING.