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Rated: 13+ · Essay · Religious · #2081879
How do we touch others?
My husband's friend uses tarot cards, and gave him a set of them. It's a sweet and generous impulse; he'll never use them, though. He and I don't believe they work, any more than we think rolling bones or voodoo dolls work.

What, then, do you do with a sweet, well-meant offering that's spiritually useless? I stifle the urge to challenge the giver, but it's hard. I'm bothered by these efforts, bothered that I'm being asked to place my faith on so slender a reed as angel cards or psychics. My faith is in the Almighty, and props aren't required. I own a few pieces of jewelry that feature crosses, a few fridge magnets of the religious or inspirational sort, some books, and one print of a painting. I don't consider these props; instead, they're choices. I don't need them. I do need God and Jesus and the Spirit. They anchor me to something greater than myself, my desires, my expectations, and the world I can only know through my experiences. The more I learn about God and the ways of God, the more I crave those ways. I wish everyone believed in Him, because I sense the vastness of what the Almighty can offer and His desire to grant it to everyone.

A few years ago, I knew a woman who lacked such an anchor. As a former foster child, she'd been fostered by people who hauled her to church weekly, but didn't live the principles taught the remainder of the time. She never criticized my faith and saw it could be more than one excursion a week. She got more out of the statement "God loves you" than years of going through motions. One day I offered her a bible. It was a paraphrase of the bible, not a direct translation, and more readable than any others she had encountered. It was meant for young people, and sprinkled throughout were stories about dealing with pornography, suicidal impulses, retaining friendships, helping family members, and dealing with obsessions. I hope she read something in there, but I didn't plan to dump it in her lap and quiz her later. I offered, hoped, and prayed.

What happened with her after we moved I don't know. But I tried to work with her where she was, not where I wanted her to be. That's all any of us can do when we reach out to others, so we don't repel those we seek to help. We can't push ourselves forward, but must say "Look over here, not at me.Try looking where I look. Maybe you'll see something good." That's the goal. The apostle Paul wrote about running the race, but he needed to learn how to walk first. People forget that. We can encourage and hold someone's hand, but God does the heavy lifting. We are not in charge of someone's spiritual destination. God is. We Christians need to get out of the way. I hope and I pray we learn how.
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