10 Tips for the Trail - Back to the Basics

Let's Hit the Trail!
Who'd have known that hiking could be so complicated? When I decided several years ago to backpack a section of the Appalachian Trail along with my Aunt Ida and my friend Kim, I figured we'd just strap a few supplies to our sturdy backs and head out. Little did I know, I had months of warm-up hikes, lunges and squats, ordering supplies, and reading up on the AT to do before we could even approach the approach trail.

But in the end, the preparations paid in dividends. By the time we began our ascent into the mountains on that April morning, I was fit and prepared to carry the 40 pounds of gear I had securely strapped to my back. I had the Oompa Loompa poncho I needed right out of the gate to protect me from the rain and my feet were warm in my sturdy Gore Tex watertight hiking boots. I was ready for the trail. And, because I had prepared well, the four-day adventure was fun and memorable. The ups and the downs, the rocks and the springs, the rain and the heat...all were manageable.

I'd like to hit the trail for an even longer trip one day soon, but I'm aware that I'm presently not in shape for it. I have the gear, but I lack the endurance and the leg and back strength. I'd have to train again if I wanted to strap on my pack and hit the AT.

For the next couple of weeks, I thought it would be fun to do a little "retraining." We may cover some things we already know, but we may find we're not really doing them. On the other hand, if you've just begun to follow Christ on this narrow path, you may learn a few things you didn't know. So I'd like to go back to the basics of walking with Christ, and offer up a few tips for lasting the long haul, managing the ups and downs, staying on course, carrying our own burdens successfully, and enjoying the path along the way.

So I hope you'll join me each day for just a very short blog post highlighting a practical tip for following Christ on the ancient path blazed by God's Word.

Stand by the roadways and look.
Ask about the ancient paths:

Which is the way to what is good?
Then take it 
and find rest for yourselves.
Jeremiah 6:16

Trail Tip #1- Draw Near to God
Recently I recommitted to drawing near to God each morning before I turn on the television, check e-mails or even talk with another person (including my husband, most mornings). This quiet time with God each morning is so basic, but so blasted hard for most of us.

Why do you suppose that is?

I'll tell you why. Because Satan knows what a mighty force we become when we take the time to draw near to God, fortify ourselves with His strength and wisdom, receive our marching orders, and set out with His purpose to face the day. There is nothing more crucial to staying strong on the path than intentionally spending at least a few minutes each morning in the still, quiet, and holy presence of our God.

Draw near to God
and He will draw near to you.
James 4:8

So without further ado, here are a few tips for maintaining a successful quiet time with God every day.
It's worth it. Let me repeat, a quiet time each day with the Lord is so very worth it! And while it feels like a huge sacrifice of sleep or Good Morning America or laundry folding time or whatever at first, you'll soon realize it's no sacrifice at all. It's a blessing. 

And it's the only way to safely and joyfully approach your trail!

How do you manage consistently to have a quiet time with God in the morning?

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