Now when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him,
“I am God Almighty;
Walk before Me, and be blameless. Genesis 17:1
I struggle to think in a straight line. It isn’t only when I’m trying to focus on a task but also when I pray or listen to God. Walking helps me. Walking, I can focus on a single idea for longer than when I sit still. More than that, my body’s motion helps translate ideas into emotions and intentions. This isn’t just my reality; it’s a human reality. Walking creates a bilateral stimulation of the brain. That means we begin to operate in both hemispheres of our brain. This kind of neuro activity strengthens learning and resolve.
I tend to be a cognitive person. I live in my thoughts. The side effect of that is that I struggle with emotions. I have found that my body bridges my thought life and my emotional life. Walking, singing, and dancing help me to move from thought to emotion.
Some of these things may be true for you as well. The scriptures speak of “walking with God.” Perhaps that is a more literal statement than we often think. That is why walking can be such a spiritual activity.
Try taking a walk with God this week. Think of a subject that you want God to speak into. Place that thought before your conscious mind and begin to walk. Ask God about it. What does he think? What does he want you to know? What does he want you to do? Once you are finished, evaluate whether walking helped you engage with God better than if you had prayed while still.
Walking is a strong, repetitive theme through the scriptures, and the first moment we witness walking is in the context of God slowly making his way through his garden.
God walks. We catch a glimpse of him walking in Genesis 3.
“Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.” (Genesis 3:8)
Perhaps this verse is too familiar to really note how unusual this sounds. How does God walk? Does God have legs? How would God’s walk sound? What was his experience like that day enjoying the garden during the coolness of the day?
Although we might not be able to answer every question that arises from the various descriptions of God in the scriptures, we can get curious about the importance of God walking.
When we walk…
- we have to get up and get moving
- we notice more of the world around us
- we can process thoughts using both sides of our brain
Walking often slows us down, keeps us healthy, and draws us into the present moment. And, this is what God does too. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He’s not in a hurry and he’s always present with us moment by moment. In God’s walking, God offers us himself.
“I will put my dwelling place among you, and I will not abhor you. I will walk among you and be your God. And you will be my people.” (Leviticus 26:11-12)
Today, ask God to go for a walk with you and notice what walking does for your body and your brain.