At a Snail’s Pace

During a recent walk, I noticed a tiny snail, its shell no bigger than a dime. It appeared motionless, but when I knelt down for a zoomed-in photo, I could see its forward progress. Ever so slowly, it traveled, a millimeter at a time, across the sidewalk. Satisfied with my photo, I continued my walk.

As I walked, I couldn’t stop thinking about that miniscule snail making its way across the path. It travelled slowly, but in a direct line, never deviating from its goal, the grass on the other side of the sidewalk. I compared its direct course to my own spiritual walk. Unlike the sluggish snail, I tend to be a sprinter.

I get excited about a new book, new project, or new bible study and run, run, run. Then I get tired, or distracted, and scurry off in another direction. Just like the rabbit in the tortoise and the hare story, I hop one way, rest a while, then scurry in another direction. Two steps forward, one step back.

At times, it seems I’m not making any progress, and I get discouraged. I sigh, and think of myself as a failure, one who can’t stick with anything, who makes no progress, sees no spiritual growth. But the tiny snail made me re-examine my spiritual walk. I evaluated my spiritual progress over the past few years.

Not so long ago, I reacted in anger when I heard or read views different from mine. I would rant about it to my husband. Since then, I’ve made progress. God has enabled me to examine other ideas and consider people’s motives and backgrounds. Yes, I occasionally still get angry. Two steps forward, one step back. But the anger is short-lived. God reminds me that all people are made in His image, and He loves them, too. He died for them, too. He replaces my anger with love for others.

Recent events have triggered fears and doubts. But God reminded me that He is faithful, in all circumstances. Abraham and Sarah had a child when they were elderly. The Israelites were enslaved, yet God miraculously delivered them. Paul suffered immensely, yet God encouraged and inspired him. In spite of, or because of, recent fearful times, my trust in God and His plans has strengthened. Sometimes I still experience fear, but I quickly remember that He is still in control.

No, I don’t move in a slow, steady, straight line like the snail. But I do move forward. My walk may zig-zag, but I still make forward progress. Even though I don’t move steadily forward like the little snail, I do move forward; I do make progress. This encourages me.

What about you? Do you make steady spiritual progress like the snail? Or, like me, do you hop about and make your way forward in an erratic path? Do you take two steps forward and one step back? How have you made progress in your spiritual walk?

Published by nancyhamiltonsturm

After raising a family and then teaching for over 20 years, I retired from full-time work. Now I spend time with family, tap dance, take long walks in nature, read, and write. I have published two stories in Chicken Soup for the Soul books and over a dozen devotions. My current goal is to publish a book of meditations over the gospels and to share my devotional writing on my blog. I hope you enjoy and are inspired.

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