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The Art of Following

In my martial arts class this week we were practicing following. This exercise seems simple, laughably easy, yet it’s a trick. The leader holds out their hand, palm down. Their partner, the follower, places their relaxed hand on top. The leader isn’t trying to lose the follower. The follower, keeping their hand and arm relaxed, is just trying to move however necessary to follow the leader.

Here’s the trick: in order to follow, you can’t lead. You can’t press down on the leader’s hand. You can’t try to nudge them in whichever direction you think they ought to be going. In fact, if you try to do any of those things, you tense up and miss the subtle shifts of their leading.

Normally, I’m the one trying to follow. This week I ended up being the leader. My partner was having trouble with the exercise–he was so tensed up he couldn’t even feel the difference between when he was pushing on me and when his hand was relaxed. In the midst of trying to show him the difference, I realized that’s me. I’m the same way.

I have some preconceived notion of where God’s trying to take me. I have a plan of where I think we should go, and I’m so focused on my own plan that I miss God’s plan. I miss His leading.

God, open my mind to Your plan. Sweep away my preconceptions of what the plan should be. Help me to relax and just follow, moment by moment.

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