I love to hike. Why? It’s peaceful, it’s out in nature, it’s time to chat with God, time to spend with family and friends, and it’s a way to get some exercise. I have lofty hiking goals, like completing 52 hikes in a year or section hiking the entire Appalachian Trail.
As a result of my love of hiking and my goals relating to hiking, I never complain while on the hike.
Until this last week.
I was on an easy 3-mile hike with Erin…my first in several weeks as a result of a knee procedure. The hike was miserable…I was miserable. Miserable and grumpy. Erin was quite amused by this shifting of roles on this particular hike….you see, she’s normally the complainer during our hikes.
I immediately went home and tied myself to my ice-compression machine to get a little relief. And as I settled into the couch with ice and Tylenol, I felt a nudge of the Holy Spirit about my complaining during the hike. There I was trying to relax and compensate for pushing my knee so hard and I kept hearing the whisper of Philippians 2:14 in my head.
“Do everything without complaining and arguing.” ~Philippians 2:14.
But I was hurting. But I was hot and sweaty. But I hadn’t stayed on top of my hiking and workouts. But there were more hills than I remembered. But, but, but.
Excuse after excuse came to mind to justify my grumbling. Within a short period of time, that nudging had me re-examining how I had behaved on the hike.
Yes, I was hurting and probably pushed too hard to go on the hike so quickly after the knee procedure. However, that did not justify my grumpy words about the hike. With a repentant heart, I opened my Bible to read 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
How do we ask for forgiveness for something that seems as trivial as complaining about the length of a hike? We identify the wayward behavior; we repent and ask for forgiveness…and then we shift gears. In that instance, I gave thanks to the Lord as directed by 1 Thessalonians. I am thankful for medical interventions for my knee. I’m thankful I made it through the hike. I’m thankful for electricity and frozen water to help after the hike. I’m thankful for cool Fall weather and changing leaves. Of course, I’m thankful for my friendship with Erin…who indulges me by going on hikes with me. In all, I am grateful to the Lord who has provided each of these things.
She who never complains (about hikes)…she complained (about a hike).
And then this simple example of grouchiness, turned into a personal lesson about being thankful.