From a distance I could tell it was her, my childhood neighbor from the distant past. I hadn't seen her for years but the time hadn't erased the memory of her stride. Even from a block away I was sure that the girl out in the distance was the same girl I had known when I was young.
Each person has a distinctive walk. Have you ever noticed how every gait is unique to one particular individual? You can recognize a friend from behind, yards away and under the cover a dark sky just by the manner in which they take their steps. It is remarkable how many different ways in which a person an walk. The slight differences in stride seem minor until you realize how great an impact they have on how we identify each other.
It makes me wonder what my walk looks like to the outside world. I am a quick walker. I have been told in the past that I look like I'm a mission even when I'm simply strolling through the mall. Personally, I blame my mother. Growing up she was always speedy walker. To keep up I had to learn to move quickly. My best friend's mother was also a speed walker so I had to move quickly to keep up her, too. Overtime my own pace was upped and it has remained at a high rate ever since. I imagine that my quick, small strides are recognizable to those who know me best.
Maybe I have a distinctive way of moving my arms, too. Most everyone has their own flare when it comes to arm movement and walking style. Who can forget the classic Seinfeld episode where one of the guest characters, a woman in Elaine's office named Sam, laments that she isn't fitting in at work. Elaine points out that maybe the problem is that Sam never moves her arms when she walks. Elaine then proceeds to interpret a caveman. A cat fight ensues. Obviously, the way a person walks can be a sensitive issue.
Beyond the quick pace of my stride and the unique way in which I move my arms, I wonder how the rest of my walk is recognized to the outside world. Beyond the characteristics of my physical walk, I wonder what my spiritual walk looks like to those I encounter and those who know me best. What about my spiritual walk is recognizable? Are there features of my spiritual life that point back to Christ? Do people look at my spiritual walk and see a gracious, loving, kind and merciful God fearing woman? Can anyone recognize my spiritual life at all by my daily walk?
The greatest desire for my walk is to be known for Christ-like love. John 13:34-35 lays out the fundamental quality that is to characterize my walk. Jesus said, "A new command I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." The feature of my life that Jesus intends to stand out above all the rest, the one attribute that should be recognizable to the rest of the world is my love for others. By this all men and women should recognize my spiritual walk with Christ.
If I don't walk in love then my spiritual walk will be impossible to recognize. The onlooking world won't see that I'm walking with Christ. Without love I won't be known as a disciple of Christ and a follower of the Almighty God. It is love that characterizes me as a child of God and a member of His family.
Whether or not I swing my arms when I walk is of little importance in the kingdom of God. He isn't as concerned about the speed of my stride or the quirks unique to my gait. His desire is for me to have an upright walk with Him that is characterized by unconditional love that flows from the Lord Jesus Christ. By this all men will know that I am walking with the one and only Savior of the world. That is the walk God desires, the walk that brings glory to His name and a smile to His face.