Following in your footsteps

By Denae Jones – 

When I was a kid my parents always raised a garden, and I remember spending many mornings weeding before the sun got too hot, or sitting on the porch snapping beans. Mom would spend days canning the vegetables to last throughout the winter months. The thing I loved most though, was when I was very small and would walk behind my dad while he ran the tiller. I still love the smell of fresh dirt in the warm sunshine. My sisters and I would walk behind him and step in his footprints. One foot would be pointed straight ahead, and one would always point out to the side, and we thought that was so funny. Our little legs would have to take giant steps to match Dad’s stride. We were quite literally following in his footsteps.
My son just brought me papers to sign to allow him to job shadow someone for a day in February. They spend a day with a professional and learn all about their job. They are encouraged to ask questions like if there are possibilities for advancement, and what are the benefits? Is there continuing education? It made me wonder what someone would find out about us if they shadowed us for a day in our personal lives. Would they be following steps of virtue? Are there still a few things we can learn? Are there opportunities for advancement?
That made me think of a question Beth Moore asked one day. She said, “What would God look like dressed in your clothes, pulling out of your driveway, and going about your day?” I guess another way to think about it would be, how would we dress, act, and relate to others if we could physically see God walking beside us all day? How would we spend our free time? Would we speak to others the same? Would we laugh at the same jokes? My guess is that a lot of things would be different.
Here’s the thing. There are people watching how we go about our day all the time. They might be children in our home. They might be someone from our community or in our neighborhood, or at our job. And every day, all the time, it’s God. Even though we can’t see Him, He knows what we do. He sees our successes and our failures. Our righteousness and our sin. Thank goodness He loves us anyway. I asked a group of pre-schoolers this morning how they thought God would feel if He saw us being mean to our friends. A five year old said it best when he answered, “He would think we were making poor choices, but He would still love us anyway.” True story.
My youngest daughter is at that age where she follows me around all day. She is always asking questions and saying she loves me, and how she is just like me. She wants us to dress the same and fix our hair the same when we are going out somewhere. We are ‘twins-ies,’ she says. That is very flattering and very intimidating at the same time. She watches everything, and then tries to do the same. What kind of footsteps am I leaving for her to follow? I don’t really mind if they see me make mistakes, as long as I teach them to learn from it and make things right again. However, it is my hope that my children only follow in my footsteps for so long. I hope that I teach them well, so they can be unafraid as they set out to leave footprints of their own, on a path even better than the one I left for them.
Sometimes we find ourselves following in a direction we never intended to take, with people we know are not good company. It’s never too late to veer off and blaze ourselves a new trail. Make our own footprints that we can be proud to have someone else walk in.
This week I challenge you to look ahead at whose footsteps you are following. Look behind to see who might be following in yours. Contemplate who is walking your path right beside you. Then make sure each of these are paths of integrity.
Have a blessed week, friends!
Did you enjoy this article? Check out more stories like these in Denae’s devotional journal called” Love, Joy, Peace”, available at places such as Worthy Publishing, Amazon, Target, Barnes & Noble, & Christianbook.com