A while back someone told me my name meant grace. I looked it up and found out that my name translates to Hannah, and in Hebrew that means favor or grace. I laughed at that one. I was like, “yea, my name of all people means grace”. I don’t feel like a very graceful person at all. I trip, I mess up, and I have at least six bruises on my legs right now because I run into things (granted the tables at work are very inconveniently placed). I’m not always patient. I don’t always understand people’s perspectives. I don’t constantly give grace when it’s needed. I am not grace. Nope. Nice try though!
I must have written that several months ago by now. However, several weeks ago I took a walk to get some coffee and I had a revelation of sorts. I have a habit of walking way too fast and most of my friends have to remind me to slow down. I was actually on a date several months ago and the poor guy I was with asked if I was trying to get away from him because I was walking so fast. Oops, so sorry! Because of that and a few other occasions, I’ve become more aware of what pace I walk with the intention of not seeming like I don’t enjoy the company I’m with. But, the day I got coffee, I wasn’t walking with anyone.
I was walking by myself, trying not to think of the agenda I had set for myself and trying really hard to enjoy my very open day without work or any other obligations that were not set by me. Nonetheless, I was speed walking my way through the neighborhood. I probably looked like one of those moms that walks with 5 pound weights rocking up and down as they speed walk their way to weight loss…except I’m 18 and prefer to not wear a sweatsuit with 5 pound weights in hand. Nothing against that by the way!! It’s an excellent source of exercise.
I was practically jogging to go get my coffee and literally just stopped. Mid-jog/walk/sprint, I just stopped. I was the only one on the sidewalk and I came to a full halt like the roadrunner in that old cartoon. I just stood there for a minute and thought about all of what I just said and what I always tell my sister when she’s stressed out. I said to myself, “Anna, breathe deeply.” I thought about my life in comparison to those who hardly have time to eat and sleep because they work so much. I have so much more time than them, yet I’m walking a million miles and hour to get coffee on a day that I have a very loose agenda.
I must have been halfway to the café by then so the last half of the walk I made a conscious effort to slow down. I was moseying my way through the neighborhood, trying really hard to breathe deeply and just enjoy life. It was peaceful. I got to the café with an attitude of appreciation and leisurely drank my almond milk cappuccino (with cocoa powder on top bc Australia does it right). I read the paper, people watched, dreamed about future goals I have, and just enjoyed the precious time I had.
On the way back to my house God kept saying, “Anna, walk the graceful walk.” So with God’s voice in my ear I sort of rolled my eyes and tried really hard to walk gracefully, slowly, and to breathe deeply the whole way. This is literally a 5-8 minute walk, depending on your speed of course, and it probably took me somewhere near 2o minutes to get back. I took my time, focused on the simple things, smelled the ocean breeze and listened to kids playing in the primary school down the road. I stopped to admire the surfers and their artistic way of carving through the waves. I took a good, long look at just about every house on my street and envisioned what life would be like behind each differently surfaced door. Basically, I took it all in and let life gently swoosh me home.
When I got home I felt so refreshed and light and like I could jump up into the clouds. I spent time in God’s presence as I walked home and that, my friends, is what a graceful walk is — time in God’s presence. I felt inspired and motivated to conquer the world, so I sat down and began typing up all sorts of rabbit trails that were bouncing around in my mind. God gave me a glimpse of something I will be doing within the next few years to further share His Name and glorify Him. He also gave me this sense of peace that I was lacking at the time. He filled me up.
Time is so simple and seemingly insignificant at times, but truthfully every little moment is significant. Sweet, sweet time spent in God’s presence is not only an opportunity for you to get a little life refresher, but also an invitation for God to freely move in and through your life. Each moment counts and that’s what my 20 minute walk taught me. It’s so important to sit back and let God move even when you’re entirely caught up in making your life move all by yourself. You have your own to-do list full of all sorts of obligations and whether you’re certain that they’re motivated by God’s desires or not, it’s vital that you still let Him grab ahold of the reigns. Your life is not going to get any less stressful until you do that. God brings us peace when all we have is chaos but in order to have that peace, you have to be willing to give up your chaos.
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33 NIV
Jesus says, “in me you may have peace.” You can’t have peace in Jesus if you only have peace in yourself. Choose the graceful walk; choose the walk that surrounds yourself in God’s presence. Take time in all that you do to just breathe deeply. Life is way to short to take each moment for granted so let God use you in each moment. Don’t let yourself be swept away by all of your obligations or be overcome by your schedule. God uses you if you’re willing, not if you have time.
It turns out that it doesn’t really matter that my name means grace. What matters is what I choose to be and how I choose to live. Be willing, breathe deeply, and walk the graceful walk.