I found a new tribe!

It was a Saturday and it was cold. I MEAN COLD!

I fully intended to go for a run near my office. I got dressed. Tied up the shoes. Had my phone prepped with all of the podcasts I missed during the week. And, stepped outside.

Nope! Wasn’t going to happen!

I thought about going home, but really wanted to fight off fatness (at least that Saturday). So, I decided to do the one thing that had received only my mockery up until that point – walk at the mall.

And, I wasn’t alone.

I thought I would be a lone crusader for health who would need to avoid looking like stalker as I made laps around the corridors.

Nope! I wasn’t alone.

Tons, and I mean tons, of people were walking laps around the mall. I started off timidly, but after about 15 minutes I found I was sticking my chest out and power walking with the best of them.

At one point, I was walking with a Chick-fil-a ice cream cone in hand – canceling out all of the mall walking efforts.

It was fun – way more fun than I thought it would be. And, it was a ghost of Christmas future moment for me. I will be back…a lot…and probably before I turn 70!

Not only did I love the experience (mostly because I LOVE the mall), but I also learned a few lessons while walking over four miles among the octogenarians.

  1. Life is Better with Companionship

The mall walkers who appeared to have the most joy were those who were walking with a friend or significant other. Some held hands. Some chatted. Some walked in silence. At least once couple debated the merits of political affections.

But I noticed that all who walked with a partner did so with more joy.

Life is meant to be lived together with others. Fierce independence often leads to desperate isolation. Find a friend. Find a companion. Live life in communication and experience deeper joy.

  1. Be Careful How We Communicate

When you are in a crowded space, but you aren’t talking, the conversations of others become very noticeable. I heard so much about the children, jobs, churches, friends of others – and they had NO IDEA I could hear them.

I also heard some very unkind words. It made me sad. It made me want to speak more gently. How we communicate matters. A couple of times I wanted to apologize on behalf of someone!

In a culture filled with vitriolic and divisive language – Jesus followers should choose kindness. The world is watching.

  1. Keep Your Gaze on the Horizon

You know what happens if you walk while looking down at your feet? I do! You walk into another person who is texting on her phone!

Walking quickly and looking down so you aren’t recognized (only at first), isn’t a good marriage.

I was much better served to look in the distance as I walked. My perspective was clearer and I was always prepared for what was ahead.

Life works this way. If you only look at your current position you are more likely to stumble and be unprepared for the future. Keep your eyes on the horizon, your future position, and you will be better equipped for what comes. The best news is that God is already in your future making a plan for you – and if you keep your gaze there you will be ready for what He has in store…and you save yourself the embarrassment of walking face-to-face into the girl texting.

See you soon…walking laps at the mall!

Chris Lawson

Author Chris Lawson

Founder of MyBigJesus.com, husband to Merri, father to Adam, Ellie, and Zachary, and executive pastor @reynoldachurch. Lives to make Jesus famous. He enjoys watching the Atlanta Braves and UNC basketball, as well as demeaning and insulting whatever sports teams you root for. He knows a disturbing amount about television and movies.

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