Good morning, Hump Day Readers. Sorry about today’s title but hang in there, it has a good meaning. For those of us who live in Arizona and other western states, snakes—especially the poisonous ones are something we learn to steer clear of. In January, our rattlers are in hibernation-yeah!! But a little sunshine doesn’t take long for them to wake-up and come out from underground.

One of my writer friends at Proverbs 31 Ministries, has a story about “running from snakes”. Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young, loves to run. She decided to run the Diamond 13K race in early Fall. The Diamond race is in central California and is very popular. It is an out-and-back course which includes a mix of shade and sun and stunning views of the majestic Sierra Nevada in the distance. This view can capture your mind and distract if you let it and that’s kind of what happened with Dorina and her friend. They were chatting together about the beauty of God’s creation. As they ascended the the Corkscrew Hill, Dorina saw it—a coiled black and white snake just off the side of the trail. Dorina hates snakes so she inhaled several times to get calm and looked at her friend and said, “not sure if this is a poisonous one or not but I’m running!” And they took off running hard.

Dorina writes about this encounter because it distracted her and as she kept running, she was unsure of her steps. Then a Scripture came to mind: “Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.” (Proverbs 4:26-27, ESV)

The word ‘ponder’ congers thoughts of Mary when Simeon spoke words that she “pondered in her heart.” Ponder means to “think about something carefully, especially before making a decision or reaching a conclusion.” Solomon’s proverb was telling us that we keep our eyes forward and our feet on the path God has set out for us. When have you encountered a ‘snake’ on your path? Let’s face it, we have so many options for “stuff” today we are easily led astray—why do you think Amazon is so powerful?!!

How do we pace ourselves? For me, it is my awakening in the morning. I do moves the chiropractor gave me and then I relax, ask God to be in my day and show me what he would want me to do, say, accomplish, etc. I find this quiet time one that draws me nearer to the heart of God and it gives me inner peace which is something that, once you get up and get going, can escape you all too easily!

All this reminds me of the pace car. Drivers must stay behind it so the car can set the pace. Without it, engines would be roaring and after one curve there would be enough pile-ups to stop the race! Isn’t that kind of like our lives—pile-ups that stop us short in our tracks? Like the snake that would be on your path, you must learn to pivot, slow down, and, like the Proverb says, think carefully. Dorina wrote that ‘when our minds are “uncooperative” we need to remember that God created our minds.’ So, let’s let God be our “pace car” as we navigate through life.

In closing, I share a tidbit from my dad. He had the patience to teach me and my twin sister how to drive—at 10 years old—on back country roads! He wanted us to learn to traverse the many curves on our gravel road from the resort to the dump! I cherished that time with dad and I learned a lot. If I took my eyes off the road, he would gently but firmly remind me of the consequences of an accident. To this day, my rear-view mirror and side mirrors often reflect those lessons from Dad and I’m very grateful!

When distractions hit us, let’s ask God to give us a “re-focus” or, as the Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 10:5, “we pull down every proud obstacle that is raised against the knowledge of God; we take every thought captive and make it obey Christ.” What a great way to stay on course and avoid the snakes, right? AMEN!