“Quit dragging your feet!!”
Unaware of the ticking clock and the many things our mother had to do with her children in tow , she often used that phrase to hurry us along. Even as we moved about the house independently, there was evidently something very irritating about the sound of shoes not fully lifted from the floor with each step. “What does it matter as long as I am get where I am going?” I would wonder silently as I corrected my form. Then I grew up, had children of my own, many things to do, and discovered for myself that, yes, foot-dragging is definitely very annoying.
Foot-dragging came to my mind this morning during my run. There is a young man who is often out for his run at the same time as I am. We run very nearly the same pace, however, he runs in the opposite direction. This means that we meet on the track twice with each lap. He noisily shuffles along with neither foot ever completely leaving the ground with each step. He keeps a very steady pace, puts in quite a few laps, and logs more days running than I do. But with every lap I want to shout “Quit dragging your feet!!”
While my mother’s admonition had its point, there is another voice I remember when I think of foot-dragging. Years ago as a young woman I was introduced to the writing and speaking of Joyce Landorf. I learned a great deal from her and I would encourage each of you to seek out her books. We often watched her videos or listened to cassettes of her teaching in our weekly bible study group. I do not remember which teaching included this phrase, but it really stuck with me:
“What trust is NOT: stoop-shouldered, foot-dragging, sighing resignation.”
This reverse definition has served me well through the years. Many times I told myself I was trusting God with the circumstances, situations, or people in my life, yet the truth was I had simply resigned myself to whatever may come. Stoop-shouldered, foot-dragging, and sighing, God would remind me of those words. I cannot be sighing and resigned and trusting at the same time. Trust involves assurance and confidence.
Sighs can be expressions of relief, but can also convey boredom or disappointment. To resign means to give up. Ever been so disappointed you wanted to give up? I have, more than a few times. Stoop-shouldered, head hanging? Yes, again. Foot-dragging? More times than I like to admit. But the Holy Spirit is faithful to remind me that my trust is not in what I can see or feel or understand.
Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6
Can that young runner complete his run while dragging his feet? Yes. Is he getting everything out of the run that is possible? No. By correcting his form, he could increase both efficiency and effectiveness, and decrease the risks of injury. There’s a lesson here…
Spiritually dragging my feet isn’t going to keep me out of heaven. But it will steal from me the effectiveness God had planned. My sighing doesn’t draw anyone to Christ. By actively choosing to trust God, especially when I don’t understand, I am positioned to do exactly what He has for me to do AND I am less likely to fall for the enemy’s schemes.
I love the words of the old hymn, Trust and Obey:
When we walk with the Lord
In the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way;
While we do His good will,
He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.
Trust and obey,
For there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus,
But to trust and obey.
Not a shadow can rise,
Not a cloud in the skies,
But His smile quickly drives it away;
Not a doubt or a fear,
Not a sigh or a tear,
Can abide while we trust and obey.
Not a burden we bear,
Not a sorrow we share,
But our toil He doth richly repay;
Not a grief or a loss,
Not a frown or a cross,
But is blest if we trust and obey.
But we never can prove
The delights of His love,
Until all on the altar we lay;
For the favor He shows,
And the joy He bestows,
Are for them who will trust and obey.
Then in fellowship sweet
We will sit at His feet,
Or we’ll walk by His side in the way;
What He says we will do;
Where He sends, we will go,
Never fear, only trust and obey.