Breaking Barriers


Co-author Bria Swager is the oldest daughter of Toby and Tracy Swager. A high school student with incredible insight and creativity, she provides her unique perspective on life, growing up, and making sense of family relationships. She is active in many leadership groups, both at school and in the community. She lives with her family near Nashville, Tennessee.

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Keep Your Feet

"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might be swept off to."
-J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring 

Every life is a journey. It may not be a journey to travel across mountains and dead marshes to a volcano to destroy the greatest evil known to man-, elf-, dwarf-, and hobbit-kind, but we are all on a journey. The first step of any journey is to leave your home or comfort zone. The outside world is dangerous, and can be scary. It can be easy to get distracted and wander. The phrase "keep your feet" means to keep your footing and your focus. You have to be focused on where you are heading and how you are getting there. A misstep can mean disaster (as you can see in the prequel to the Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit in Mirkwood, but that's another story and another post for another day). If you've ever gone hiking or climbing, you know that it is crucial to always know where you are placing your feet. A loose stone here or a mud pit there can completely change the course of your trip. On any difficult hike, you must focus on your footing and your surroundings. Likewise, in life you must pay attention to the situations in which you are putting yourself. The relationships and environments that you step into can cause you to completely lose focus and sweep you off far away from the path you're meant to follow. 
To keep your feet, you must also always have your destination in mind. Whether you have a map or not, if you step out onto the road with no destination in mind, you have no idea which path to follow and will find yourself in all kinds of sticky situations. How often have you gotten in the car and just started driving with no idea where you are headed? Think of all the complications with a trip like this. What should you pack? How much should you pack? Should you prepare for hot or cold or dry or wet weather? Will you need a passport? Where will you stay? How long will you be gone? The questions go on and on. Yet all too often we do this in life. We step out onto the road with no destination in mind and are not prepared at all for the places we find ourselves. 
Whether you can think of a destination or have no idea where you're going at this point in life or think that you are headed toward the wrong destination, there is one place your focus should always be. If you keep your focus on God, everything else falls in place. He is like the mountain in the distance that you are headed toward, or the star that you must follow. Knowing the general direction you are headed and staying on the path is great, but you must always know which way you are headed. As long as you keep God as the focus of your life, all the other pieces will fall into place, and you'll find yourself in places greater than any you imagined.