For a few months now, I have been dealing with some physical and health-related issues that affect the way I walk and talk. Any who have heard me speak since the end of July will have noticed a slur, a heavy nasal tone, or both. And no, it is not due to a stroke, as it all started after some dental work. I have also dealt with lower-back problems for decades, and though I have learned to adjust my own spine, some time this past spring I developed a limp due to a weakness in my right leg that seems to be unaffected by my attempts. It got to the point that on some days my right leg almost drags. On top of that, the muscles in both legs have become intermittently very weak. As you might imagine, I have experienced some very clumsy moments, both in walking and talking. Fortunately, both conditions have been gradually improving in an up and down sort of way, as I have been going through a long process of detoxification and a return to some barefoot walks at the beach (and yes, it helps).
I mention this not only to let you know what has been going on with me but also because something came to me while considering a follow-up in my unfinished Judgment series. You see, because of my complications, I have become very focused upon how I walk and how I talk. On my bad days, I’ve had to concentrate on my balance and on where my feet are. I have to do this before I make a move one way or the other to make sure I don’t trip or fall. As far as talking goes, I’m focused as much on how I’m speaking as on what I’m saying. Let me tell you, some days it wears me out, especially when I have to repeat myself.
For those who don’t know, I work at Home Depot, and down here in Florida our busy time of year starts in October. I walk miles a day on a hard concrete floor (which wears on me, despite some expensive shoe inserts), and I have to talk to people all day long. Oftentimes, I see someone heading my way, and I’m hoping that I don’t have to talk very much during the coming encounter. And then there’s the constant up and down on the 20-step ladder — and yes, you’d better believe I’m totally focused on every little move I make when on it.
So here’s what hit me this morning. As we become sidetracked into imagining that our life is found in realm of this world, we become focused upon how we walk and how we talk. We’re trying to keep our balance lest we stumble and fall. We’re hanging onto the guardrails of this world so tightly that we can’t think of much else. And as we guard what comes out of our mouths, we’re more concerned with whether we’re saying it right than with what we’re actually saying. And when we’re judging according to the confusion brought on by living as if our lives are confined by the struggle of just making it through the day without falling down or tripping up or speaking in a way that people might understand us, we’re overlooking the truth of what we have become in Christ.
If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!” Colossians 2:20-21
More to come …