When you get repeatedly snowbound and sub-zero discouraged from travel, you start doing funny things. Like looking at tracks in the white stuff. And photographing them. And letting your mind follow them along, pondering… IMG_9006

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Which set of tracks above would you say best represents your movement through life? (Take a moment to consider.)

Some people’s track record lies pressed hard forward with heavy purpose, and stands firm.

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These folks. get. things. done. And they seem to know just what they’re doing. Decided, definite, determined.

Others travel along traditional lines, or in the general trending of their time, each in her own slightly different course, not necessarily in anyone else’s exact footsteps,  but

IMG_9018_2still pretty much in parallel with the rest of the herd.

Others cross the life tracks of others, and only briefly, going their own way.

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Then there’s this:

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When I saw that track and snapped the photo, I laughed. I thought it might well represent my own oft-confused and convoluted pilgrimage.

And yet…

Which would represent repentance?

Yesterday, around here, we talked about repentance: what it is exactly, who says to do it.

Strongly emphasized was turning: turning from, and turning to. Turning from error,  turning to God.

One scripture person who said to do it was John the baptizer (Mt 3:1-2). He prepared a path for the coming Lord and instructed others how to do the same: by “Repent!”ence.

And when He, the Lord, came, what did He preach? “Repent! For the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Mt 4:17).

Is repentance just a one-time deal, done and done, for good and all? Or do we need to make periodic course corrections, even 180 turn-arounds when we’ve steered way off course? Another definition for repent is “return,” says Strong’s Expanded Dictionary, citing the Prodigal Son as clear example.

At this point yesterday, I remembered Sallie Edwards Turoczi of Trans World Radio speaking of repentance at a women’s retreat, as both the necessary base of a Christian life’s figurative pyramid, and the mortar it needs for all its upward steps to hold together and cling fast to the base.

That made sense to me, for I knew that even with the best intentions I sometimes wander off-course and need drastic course correction—even though it will look like that last track above:

Ridiculous. Laughable.

I also remembered a fellow blogger’s  long-past post in which she told how a view in her rearview mirror reminded her of repentance, and prompted her to make some kind of light-hearted sign, saying “Repent,” which she placed somewhere on her church premises, I think in the building’s basement (though I can’t find that post to verify this). Anyway, wherever she placed it, it drew sour and heated responses! (Maybe the blog post did too, and so she repented writing it? I’ll keep her anonymous, in case.)

However, why would church people, presumably Christians, get so upset about this word?

Methinks it’s because we don’t like to admit error, misstepping. It’s embarrassing. And so is the track record left by such drastic course-changing.

Nevertheless, I read of Paul telling the Christians in Corinth and Galatia to do some repenting, to return to the right way of going, and Christ Himself, through John the Apostle, calling nearly all the seven churches of Revelation to some kind of repentance (Rev 2:5,16,21-22;3:3,19).

So… what if it does leave a silly-looking track record behind? After my snowbound path pondering, I don’t feel as bad about mine.

How about you? Is repentance hard? Embarrassing?

Happy tracking anyway, this winter-wonderful day!

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You might also enjoy reading this related post

Wrong Way!

(Talk about embarrassing!)

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12 thoughts on “Tracks, and Crazy Track Records

  1. Dear Sylvia
    Oh well. Jesus was NOT very popular amongst those whose religious feathers He scratched! So, we should at times just allow thing to go into the one ear and out of the other. Who said that ….? Not me…..!
    Blessings XX
    Mia

      1. Thanks for this encouragement, Michelle. Yes, what’s really worth listening to is what *He* says, isn’t it? And He speaks the important messages through many means, doesn’t He?

  2. It’s always easier to see the speck in someone else’s eye. Only God can reveal our logs to us and help us change course. Love the idea of following your tracks and seeing when we change course.

    1. That’s right, Nancy. When I first thought about using these shots in a post, my trend of thought was toward “Judge not another’s tracks,” or some such thing. That’s the idea that seems to have come through in the end. Thanks so much for stopping and commenting.

  3. Hi Sylvia,

    Those snowy track photos are lovely, and definitely put our actions in an allegorical light too. Thanks.

    Re your comment on my post “What Sex Unlocks in Marriage,” yes, aren’t those great statistics? The oxytocin stats are from Gary Thomas’ article “The Power of Pure Passion,” found here. http://www.garythomas.com/free-resources/the-power-of-a-pure-passion/

    How fun that you write on this topic as well. It’s an important issue to discuss, huh?

    Blessings,
    Jennifer Dougan
    http://www.jenniferdougan.com

    1. Hi Jennifer,
      Thanks for commenting, and for passing on your info source. My topic is really a bit broader than yours, more along the line of how we are uniquely made as women, designed quite differently from men. I lived through a period of history when these differences were downplayed sometimes to the point of utter denial, the idea being that there really was no appreciable difference between the inner workings of women and those of men (mind, heart, desires, and ambitions). Well, that just isn’t how it is, and if we’re going to embrace who we are as God made us, we’re going to take this whole area of our design into consideration. Blessings to you!

  4. Pride is a powerful thing. It makes people believe they’re better than they really are. Maybe Isaiah 64:6 should be posted underneath her word to remind us that our best “is like filthy rags.”

    1. Ha! Great idea, Floyd! Yes, pride is also a dangerous thing, keeping us stubbornly going in a beeline toward the cliff instead of making the u-turn that would make all the difference! Thanks for this wisdom.

  5. You’ve given me a lot to think about regarding repentance, Sylvia. I had to laugh also when I saw that circular, meandering track. Sometimes, I think this is the best way to appreciate the moments, though–circling through, savoring and revisiting. Lovely thoughts!

    1. Yep, Laura, the circular, meandering track: that’s me. But I’ve been making peace with that. Sometimes it *is* repentance that makes the windings, and that’s good. Sometimes it comes from trying to follow where He appears to lead, and that’s good, too. And still other times, yes, it’s the “circling through, savoring and revisiting. They’re all good, aren’t they!

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