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Tripped Up

It was a beautiful day. The sun was shining. The birds were singing. It was over 60 degrees on a January afternoon. I figured it’d be a great day to run outside, escaping the basement treadmill at least once before winter weather returned. Little did I know that I’d be in the ER before nightfall.

I got on my running gear, stretched, plugged in my headphones to my latest worship music, hit ‘Start Workout’ on my running app, and headed out.

It was a gorgeous day, especially for January. The fresh air and sunshine felt great, even though the run was a little tougher than I wanted to admit; but that usually happens in the transition from the treadmill to the streets. I prayed some, listened some, got to thinking some, and was enjoying my run when, all of a sudden, I found myself rolling down the sidewalk.

Dizzy for a moment and thrown off-kilter, I realized quickly that I had somehow tripped, landing on the concrete…hard. My arm and shoulder were hurting, my knee was bleeding, and I had several other minor abrasions. In evaluating my injuries and looking back, I pieced together what happened. I hadn’t allowed enough clearance for my foot to miss a buckle in the old sidewalk, and as I headed to the ground, my body instinctively began to curl up. The bulk of the force of the fall was on my right shoulder as it collided with the cement. I had then rolled at least once, with my right knee scraping the unforgiving ground.

I sat there, on the sidewalk for a minute, unable to fathom how that could have happened. One minute I was enjoying a great day…the next minute I was down for the count. And I still had two miles to go to get back home!

The pain in my shoulder got worse throughout the afternoon, and I ended up getting a couple x-rays to rule out a broken clavicle. It wasn’t broken, but I had to wear a sling for a couple days.

Has that ever happened to you? I don’t mean rolling down the sidewalk during a run. I mean that you’re breezing through life and everything seems great and then, all of a sudden, you get tripped up. Maybe tragedy strikes, or pain and loss. Or maybe it’s some sinful thing you’ve been thinking was no big deal…until it was. Or maybe it’s just that you thought things were going to work out one way…and they didn’t.

Life has a way of tripping us up. Sometimes it’s our fault. Sometimes it’s not. But we find ourselves down for the count. No matter what the cause, the solution is the same. It all rests in what we pay attention to.

See, that afternoon on those Medina side streets, I got distracted. The last thing on my mind was an uneven sidewalk. I’m not saying that as we walk through life we should be fixated on all the bad things that might happen. We should be aware of those possibilities, but Scripture tells us that instead we should be paying attention to something else, to Someone else…

Galatians 5:25 “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”

No matter what life brings our way, if our attention is on keeping in step with where the Holy Spirit is leading, we’ll have the resources to face anything. We have to be intentionally focused on God and His guidance in our lives each day.

God doesn’t promise smooth paths and clear skies. He promises to be with us to help navigate anything we might encounter, including the occasional buckle in the sidewalk! Pay attention to Him, keep in step with Him, no matter where you are on life’s journey today.

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