"Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey!"
It was just a tiny pebble. But with every step I took, it made its presence known in an uncomfortable way. I tried to ignore it, but that only made matters worse. I paused and removed the shoe housing the offensive object. After giving it a good shaking, I returned the shoe to its rightful foot and resumed my pace.
Minutes later, I felt it again. But this object was larger and sharper than the last. Once again, I stopped and scoured through my shoe, removing the culprit along with other less noticeable fragments. Somehow, I was collecting bits and pieces of the ground beneath my feet. How they were making their way into my shoe, I didn't know. But after multiple stops on the trek back home, it was clear I had a pebble problem with my walking shoes. If I didn't address it, it was going to slow me down on my walks.
Today I have been thinking about other pebbles that have made their way into my life. I admit, some have been my own doing. But others have just appeared on the scene. These minor irritants that weigh me down and distract me need to be dealt with if I want to walk with purpose and in freedom.
For me, pebbles include criticism from an outside source...unrealistic expectations I cannot possibly fill...the nagging feeling that I don't measure up in someone's eyes...forgiveness that I long for but didn't receive. My self-inflicted pebbles are my less than healthy coping mechanisms like withdrawing. I am also quite good at creating pebbles by beating myself up, and dwelling on the what-ifs and if-onlys.
How about you? What do your pebbles look like? Maybe it's that person in your life who's constantly after you to change who you are. Maybe it's a boss or a professor who has taken a dislike to you. Maybe your pebble is that third glass of wine you seem to pour every evening. Pebbles come in so many shapes and sizes. The world will always be full of them. It's what we do with the pebbles that counts. How we respond, learn, and grow from our encounters with these potentially destructive obstacles affects how we walk through life. It can even set the course for the future.
I finally figured it out. I need to wear thicker socks when I walk. There's less room for pebbles to find their way into my shoe. And those other pebbles I mentioned? No worries. I'm not going to let them slow me down anymore.
"In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins ~ not through strength but through perseverance."
~H. Jackson Brown
"Life's challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they're supposed to help you discover who you are."
~Bernice Johnson Reagon
"Expect trouble as an inevitable part of life and when it comes, hold your head high, look it squarely in the eye and say, 'I will be bigger than you. You cannot defeat me.'"
"You're a winner. The tests of life aren't meant to break you, but to make you."
~Norman Vincent Peale