It took us 226,290 steps to complete the 130km section of the Camino that we journeyed along this summer. I spent the previous six months wondering whether, even if I could do the required number of steps for one day, I would be able to do it day after day. I bought a good pair of trainers in plenty of time to get them fully worn in. I started gradually increasing the distance of my daily walk with Fred and then I banjaxed my knee. The physio said I was to stay off it, walk on the flat and do a series of exercises three times a day. So, I headed to the Camino very unsure that I would be able to complete our target and consoling myself that I could always take a taxi.
But yes, I made it – even the day when we had 44,000 steps to do. We gradually worked out that our best plan was to walk for 2 hours, stop for something to eat and then take 45 minutes break. If we didn’t walk, we didn’t reach our destination. If we didn’t eat and drink regularly, we became tired and grumpy. If we didn’t take a rest after eating, we ended up uncomfortable with indigestion. So, there you are – the secret to walking the Camino!
But why am I telling you this? It struck me that maybe it wasn’t just in our physical lives that we need to work / feed / refresh. Maybe we need the same in our spiritual lives as well. Maybe we need a balance between what we do for God, the time we spend learning more about him through worship and study, and the time we take to allow God to speak to us and refresh us. In Revelations 2, the church in Ephesus is criticised because they were doing a lot but not worshipping God as they used to. They’d got the balance wrong. I think this balance is important not only for churches but for us as individuals as well.
I can’t give you a magic formula for getting the right balance. The amount of time I have put into action / learning / prayer has varied across the years but they do all need to be there. When you check that action is there do remember to include all the service you give at home and work as they are your immediate mission field. Check that you are allowing a time to worship God regularly as well as other times that give yourself an opportunity to learn more about him. Check that you allow time for him to work in you through all that you have learnt and done. Give him time to help you process and grow your faith.
As we enter the holiday season, when we refresh out bodies through rest or by doing something different, take time out to let God refresh and inspire you.