BY JAMES DAMAN
It's getting hot in Arizona (It was over 120 today), people are putting cookie dough in baking sheets, leaving them in their cars to make cookies and cooking eggs and ham on the sidewalk. This is the time when I reflect back on when things were cooler (all the way back to a month ago). (Cue the Montage music) I see myself spending time outside and enjoying lots of hiking.
I had never even hiked before I moved here and I made the mistake of joining a pastor friend of mine on one of the most difficult hikes in Arizona for my first hike ever. We got halfway and realized that we were off the path, he had me in the front and I was inadvertently knocking rocks back towards him. In my mind, I immediately pictured myself kicking a rock on him, killing him. My immediate thought was about how I would explain this to his congregation tomorrow.
We eventually stopped and prayed, got back on the trail, and made it to the top of the mountain. This hike was so tough that now when I face difficult circumstances, I say, "Well, I made it up that mountain!" Even though I have since hiked from one side of the Grand Canyon to the other, I still consider this hike the toughest. The reason is because it was my first time stepping out and it was scary to me!
Maybe you are facing something that's difficult and you need to step out of your comfort zone. It may be scary, but it will be worth it!
I had another great experience recently when I was hiking with different friends and we soon got off the path. Pretty soon we looked down and saw this stone on the ground marked with the word "pray".
We immediately did just that, we prayed and we realized that we had left the path that was made for us and tried to make our own way. After praying, we immediately rejoined the path that was made for us. What an amazing reminder that if we ever go off God's path for us, we should simply pray for his will and join the path he has for us.
Are you off God's path for you?
"Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord". Lamentations 3:40
Are you facing something difficult? It may be scary and easier to focus on that fear, but try to focus on God instead.
In contrast, maybe things are great right now for you. I still encourage you to take time to pray and thank God that things are great!
"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
James Daman is the pastor of recovery and discipleship at Focus314, which is a church in one of the fastest growing neighborhoods in the United States. He is the Celebrate Recovery Regional Director for the Mountain Region and he has interviewed some of the world's most influential people, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, General Tommy Franks and many others. You can contact James on Twitter at @jdaman04.