Home > Christianity, Church, Spiritual formation > Look With Your Feet

Look With Your Feet

There is a park in town, next to the library, that my children love to visit. About 1 mile from our house, we can easily bike to it, and often do during summer evenings.

Situated in one corner of this park is a 7 foot tall rock-climbing structure that beckons my name whenever we visit. While it boasts several nooks and crannies to stick fingers into or rest the edge of a foot upon, it can be a bit challenging, especially when trying to come down.

Recently, my 6 year old and I found our way to the top of the structure and after teetering on its pointed top for a few minutes, we decided to climb back down. If you have climbed any type of rock structure before, you know that climbing up is usually much easier than climbing back down.

The main reason for this is that while climbing up, you make your way by looking for and then placing your hands into cracks that provide the most support. The proximity of your eyes to your hands makes finding these holds a fairly simple task.

But on the way down the process is reversed, and you have to first find places in which to lodge your foot, often stretching a bit beyond your comfort zone to do so. And for most people, the eyes are a long way from the feet.

And so last night, as my son realized that climbing down was a bit more difficult than climbing up, he asked me to help him down. Wanting him to accomplish a difficult task I decided to let him find his own way down. As he dangled over the edge, trying to find firm holds for his feet, that I decided to  encourage him. So I blurted out, “You have to look with your feet!”

Over and over again I repeated this phrase, until at last he found both feet resting comfortably on the ground below – a difficult task accomplished, and a new phrase added into my vocabulary.

A day later, I found myself pondering this phrase, and how ridiculous it must have sounded to those around me.

And yet the simple truth of it caught me, and wrapped itself tightly around my heart.

A life of faith is one that, often times, can only be done while looking “with our feet.” There are times in life when we feel directionless, like we’re not sure where to turn next, how to respond, where to go, or how to get there.

And so we cling to what we know. We wrap our fingers around that which is familiar, that which is comforting, that which have found to be trustworthy. And yet we know we still need to go on in some direction, somehow.

And so, holding tightly to what know, and feeling as though we can’t see which direction to pursue, we begin to look with our feet. We begin to ever so slowly slide the soles of our shoes towards the next ledge, the next crack, the next place of solid footing.

It’s not the fastest process, nor the cleanest. But sometimes its all we have. And if we can trust that the next crevice is there, our feet can look with a bit of assurance to see what nothing else can – a way forward.


  1. LKP
    July 8, 2011 at 4:55 PM

    Great post, Jamie! I like the idea of looking with my feet…a great visual of clinging hard to faith while “feeling around” the rest of life. And I’m glad your little man made it down, or else this post would have had a much different meaning :-).

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