Don’t Eat the Salmon!

September 24th, 2008

Focus Text: Proverbs 4: 12-13 (NLT)

12 When you walk, you won’t be held back;
      when you run, you won’t stumble.
13 Take hold of my instructions; don’t let them go.
     Guard them, for they are the key to life.

 

Stop Here and Reflect Here Before Reading Ahead

Running is a huge part of my life, but it hasn’t always been.  It took almost three decades of starting exercise regimes, quitting them, and then starting them again to get to where I am now.  The funny part is, I know that there’s no guarantee that I won’t fall off the running map again.  But for now, I’ve been running consistently for almost ten months.  For many of you, that’s probably not that big of a deal; but for me, it’s huge.

I usually run in my neighborhood.  I have several different loops mapped out that help me achieve my mileage goals for the day.  After I’ve run that particular course so many weeks in a row, the individual days begin to “run” together (no pun intended) and I can’t remember which memory corresponds to which day.

With this much data to observe, I have learned several things that are pertinent to my running success.  One such example I learned the hard way.  In addition to exercise, I try to make better dietary decisions.  Instead of getting the burger, I try the chicken.  Instead of ending my meal with a huge ice cream sundae, I may order a hot coffee to give me that “post-meal” closure.  

One of the better choices that I love to make is the salmon.  I love fish and most of our local restaurants now offer a cedar-planked salmon– a succulent display of seasoned salmon filet smoked and served on a small piece of wood.  The very aroma is intoxicating, just as if you were camping by an Alaskan stream and were cooking the fish you had just caught.  Yeah, you could say that I like the salmon.

But apparently, my stomach does not like the salmon if I’m running.  I don’t know what it is, but salmon and running are a recipe for digestive disaster.  I normally have a stomach of steel (hey, maybe I could be a new cast member on Heroes . . . The Gluttonator!  Skinny villain punks beware!) But I digress.  Anyhoo, I can usually eat anything I want with little to no protest from the old abdominal region.  But the first time I ran in the afternoon after eating the salmon for lunch was literally a painful experience.  Stomach cramps accompanied me the whole time, making my run less than enjoyable.

I chocked it up to random circumstance.  I mean, hey, fish is a light meal– it has to be better than a burger!  Right?  Thus, some months later, I tried the “fishy experiment” again.  I even made sure that I waited four or five hours before running this time.  But bam . . . the stomach cramps returned like a really bad sequel to a horror flick!  Turns out, salmon just refuses to set well with me when I’m running.  That’s a truth that I’ve had to embrace.

How foolish would it be for me to ignore or disregard this crucial piece of information and load up on salmon every day at lunch.  Truth, you see, is only beneficial when we remember it and reapply it to our daily lives.  

That’s what the passage teaches us.  Wisdom allows us to walk without being “held back” and to run without “stumbling.”  It’s so easy to imagine wisdom as some magical pill that we take that gives us supernatural strength to run any distance or scale any wall with the greatest of ease.  We long to simply absorb wisdom into our inner selves and use the advantages it gives us to conquer any obstacles that we face.  We want wisdom to be like like a super power that we can access at our leisure.

But real wisdom is more than just the absorption of God’s mysterious ageless knowledge; it is also the Spirit-led process of learning from our experiences and reapplying that knowledge into today’s situation.  There are things in life that will “cramp up” our walk with Christ, making us weak and unable to continue.  When we encounter those spiritual dietary truths, wisdom says that we must remember and reapply.  In other words, if you want to run without getting sick, don’t eat the salmon!

We must not “let go” of the truths we encounter of God’s wisdom.  For those who walk with Christ, there is a daily interaction with His Spirit that will impart “salmon” truths.  Again, this isn’t all superhero-esque; oftentimes it is as simple as, “Okay, that caused you to stumble, so remember that tomorrow when you’re here again.”  The voice of God is majestic and miraculous, as well as gentle and practical.  We must listen to God no matter what volume He chooses.

Life is more than just a few huge decisions, although that’s what we generally focus on.  School. Career.  Marriage.  Salvation.  In reality, life is a perpetual series of small, seemingly insignificant decisions.  Much like my runs in the afternoon, I can’t just execute the entire course at once.  I can only take one step at a time.  That’s wisdom in a nutshell: applying God’s voice to each step of daily life, no matter how seemingly insignificant.  A sequence of tiny steps will comprise one’s lifetime journey.

For today, what “salmon” do you need to avoid so you can run without stumbling?  Spiritually, of course.

 

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~ by johndriver on September 24, 2008.

2 Responses to “Don’t Eat the Salmon!”

  1. What “salmon” do I need to avoid? I’m glad you asked!

    Normally, I have no problem with forgiveness. I’m not being conceited, that just hasn’t been a real issue for me. Don’t get me wrong, some things take me time to get over, and trust is sometimes broken, but I do forgive. However, today something struck me hard and even though it was insignificant in the grand scheme of things, it bugged me. I tried to shake it off and work through it, but oh how it festered inside me. My stomach began to hurt spiritually, because I could not forgive. I tried to keep walking with God, acting like nothing was wrong. But it hurt me. God says we need to forgive others because we have been forgiven. Those are his “instructions” if you will. I felt horrible the whole time because I was running with salmon. Forgiveness is something that can definitely hurt you in your walk with God. I’ve gotta be careful I don’t stumble again. I might break something!

  2. I just had an epiphany! Wow. Wisdom does not have to be some profound thing from God. It can come from our daily lives when we learn a lesson, or gain experience in some way. Sometimes we look so in depth for wisdom when really it’s right under our nose! 😀

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