I am starting a new job this week. It is Sunday night; all the ironing has been done, tomorrow morning’s outfit has been laid out and my bag is packed.
New beginnings have always frightened me. I know I’m not alone in that. Except that I am. People may have similar experiences, they may even share the same experiences, but their reaction to such experiences will always be different, will always be unique to them.
I could explain how I feel, try to find relief in comforting words from others or suggestions on how to calm my nerves, but ultimately it is me alone that will get on that bus tomorrow morning, travel a new route to work and try to settle into a new management and routine.
Or am I alone?
Christianity offers the promise of a walk with God. From the very first book of the Bible, men and women are described as walking with God (Genesis 6:9) Famous passages like “Footprints” paint the idea of God not just walking beside us, but carrying us through the bad times. People far holier than me appear to do this effortlessly, they may talk of times God has spoken to them or when they have ‘felt’ His presence. Others empathise with me and say that this close, almost physical, relationship with God eludes them also, but I think we all wonder how it is that we can truly walk with God.
Here I am now: worrying how I can work with my colleagues and walk with my Lord. I might Google for advice, open the bible at random, phone a friend, but I know that all of these things would be no more than a placebo. There seems to be a lot of blanket rhetoric in literature and preaching – both religious and secular – but rather than paint a roadmap, they offer a mode of transport.
So like those who entered the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, like Socrates and like Neo in the Matrix, I need to know myself. I need to be honest about my faults, failings and fears, the way I react to situations and how to find confidence in myself.
And I think most of all I need to be patient (Hebrews 12:1).