Home Read What's New Join
My Account Login

Read Our Devotional             2016 Opportunities to be Published             Detailed Navigation

The HOME for Christian writers! The Home for Christian Writers!
The Official Writing Challenge



how it works
submission rules
guidelines for
choosing a level


submit your entry
read current entries
read past entries
challenge winners

Our Daily Devotional HERE
Place it on your site or
receive it daily by email.



how it works   Submit

Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: This Side of Paradise (not about the book) (07/14/11)

TITLE: When Life Gets Squirrelly
By Kimberly Russell


Exercise is overrated. Just ask my calves. They'll be happy to moo in agreement.

But at the insistence(nagging) of my health coach, doctor, and unrelenting conscience, I've made a commitment to hoist myself off the couch on a regular basis.

So now I walk.

Today I'm cranky and the last thing I want to do is amble through the neighborhood.
I spend some time "should-ing" on myself until I cave under the guilt. Stuffing earbuds in place, I hit the street.

It's a butter-melting morning. Sweat slides off my forehead like trickling rivulets of victory. Maybe someone will see me and be impressed by my sogginess.

I meander, my mind ruminating about the lousy few days I've had. Life has been chaotic, and I feel like I'm going down for the third time. If only Jesus would appear and sweep me away. Then instead of drowning, I'd be sprawled on a heavenly beach, surrounded by sapphire seas. Ahhh, paradise.

My musing is interrupted by a catchy rhythm blaring from my iPod. I step up the pace in an attempt to stay on beat when the words begin to whisper to my heart.

In Christ I can do all things
In Christ I mount up on eagle's wings
In Christ I wait for a great reward
That I have in store *

Sometimes I wish great reward would come sooner than later. I'm ready.

Coming toward me is a lady walking her dog. A Mexican stand-off is imminent as we bear down on one another. It doesn't appear she will move aside so I grudgingly inch to the right. Despite the fact that Fido noses toward me, she barrels on. He just wants to be friendly. She isn't interested. I reach out to pat the dog as her shoulder knocks my hat askew. I mutter an apology, astounded by her discourtesy. Then chide myself: maybe be she's having a bad day too.

Hopefully she's nice to Fido.

I move on, annoyance bubbling up as I stumble over litter in my path. A discarded box from a pregnancy test? Really? Probably came from the nearby pharmacy. Usually there's a trashcan right by the front door. How rude.

Wonder why someone would be in such a hurry that they would toss a box out the window? Maybe long-anticipated baby news. Or a teen, terrified that her life might be over before it begins. Happy or sad. Could go either way. I send up a prayer for the person that bought the box.

The DJs on the radio cut-up, their sorry attempts at humor suddenly taking a serious turn. They talk about how things go wrong in our lives and making mistakes. My ears perk up since I can relate to everything being said. They continue chatting about the importance of depending on God. And how he wants to help us.

"God's in charge of messes," they tout. Good thing since I have plenty.

My march leads me near a baseball diamond where I happen to look up and see the oddest thing: a squirrel draped over the top of the outfield fence.

He looks like a cartoon critter, stretched out long-ways, legs limp. Sunshine bounces off the chain link, bathing him in sparkles while his tail flutters in the breeze. At first I think he's dead then I breathe a sigh of relief when his little chest rises. I'd like to reach for my cell phone to take a picture, but fearing I will disturb his afternoon snooze, I refrain. The fact that he is precariously perched above doesn't appear to concern him.

I come to a halt as an epiphany drops into my soul.

If only I could rest in peace despite what is going on around me...or when danger lurks.
Is it possible that God wants to help me work through the messes in my life? Maybe seeking a heavenly escape route isn't the best option.

I consider my unpleasant days, the gloomy dog-walker, and the implications of the discarded pregnancy test box. Trouble is everywhere. There's no getting away from it.

Yet if a squirrel can slumber in peace, balanced twenty feet off the ground, can't I trust the God of the universe?

Paradise will have to wait. Apparently there are things for me to learn right where I am.

In Christ I don't worry about all the rest
Cause everything I need to be is in Christ *

*Lyrics from the song, "In Christ" by Big Daddy Weave

The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
Accept Jesus as Your Lord and Savior Right Now - CLICK HERE
JOIN US at FaithWriters for Free. Grow as a Writer and Spread the Gospel.

This article has been read 738 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Carol Penhorwood 07/21/11
Thoughts well worth pondering.
Robyn Burke07/21/11
Thanks for letting us see and feel along with you on your walk. You bring out some good, gentle thoughts. I enjoyed this.
Amica Joy07/22/11
I liked your story a lot. Made me giggle. It's always good to laugh at yourself. The hero of your story is moving through life 'thinking'. That's part of his problem. Wouldn't he think, he'd be perfectly happy and ignorant... That's why ignorant people are happy. But it is much better to be of the 'thinking' type and to come to your hero's conclusions. :-) Great story and very good ending.
Laury Hubrich 07/23/11
It's funny where our thoughts lead us as we walk or jog. Thanks for sharing your morning exercise route:)
Eliza Evans 07/23/11

I like the bit about the pregnancy box and stopping to think/care about someone else. Very nice.

Love the 'aha' with the squirrel and how it fits with your title.

"amble" didn't seem like the right word, since we're talking about exercise. :)

The start is very catchy and I love 'should-ing.' :)

Edy T Johnson 07/25/11
Thank you for putting your musings into words for us. That is definitely an epiphany for us all---we aren't here to hide or escape, we are both laborers in the vinyard, and also Mary, who has chosen the best part, sitting at Jesus' feet to "rest awhile" in His presence. Your writing is simply delightful, I enjoyed reading.
diana kay07/26/11
like the style, like the mix of humour and serious threads... I found some of it a bit complex just because there were lots of things all jumbled up.... and i missed the was this fitted into the theme... mind you i was not totally clear on the meaning of the theme either.
as you are a master i hope you can take this with the warmheartedness with which it is being sent.... I am only a mere 2nd leveler so throw me out if you want......
Lillian Rhoades 07/26/11
"Paradise will have to wait. Apparently, there are things for me to learn right where I am." O Blessed thought! How true. If only it was as easily done as said.

I'm word sensitive.:)
"Squirrelly" has me scratching
a bit. You didn't quite hit the bull's eye as per topic, but there are multiple devotional nuggets here to chew on.
Catrina Bradley 07/27/11
Excellent article! Your writing picked up pace as your morning walk picked up speed -- and as your mood lifted as well. I felt refreshed after reading. Wonderful, Kim. :)
Margaret Kearley 07/28/11
This is great and has a real ring of 'this really happened' about it. How often God uses His creation, some small insignificant little thing, to speak to our hearts and souls and set us back on track. A wonderful story. Congrats on your well deserved placing.
Lillian Rhoades 07/28/11
Obviously, I "missed the mark" when it came to the Judge's opinion.:-) Congratulations!
Marita Thelander 07/28/11
I totally can see you having this conversation on a morning walk. Great thought processing time...and writing material, too. :)

Congratulations on your EC!
Verna Cole Mitchell 07/28/11
This was a fun read, as well as an inspiring one, and, obviously a winning one! Congratulations.
Eliza Evans 07/28/11
Huge Congrats on this thought provoking piece, Kathryn!
Beth LaBuff 07/29/11
What a great message! You get your point across in a most wonderful way. Congrats on your EC!!