By: Darrelyn L. Tutt

Chris entered my life some 25 years ago and made imprints in my physical life that have carried over into a healthy practice and discipline still “walked out” today.
Our relationship began with a simple invite to become her walking partner.
Had you known me at that particular time, you would’ve observed that I was not in peak shape nor had I ever entered into a regimented physical discipline.
I’m not sure what prompted the invite but I grabbed ahold of it observing it had clearly been a productive discipline in Chris’s life.
How hard can walking be, right?
I’d like to speak to that question:
By the third block of our five mile course on our first day I was ready to call it quits. I recall looking at her out of the corner of my eye hoping she was humoring me.
She wasn’t.
Welcome to the world of speed walking.
Too proud to assert my weariness I managed to complete the first day’s walk which, in hindsight, I still consider a monumental feat.
Blisters lined my heels and toes.
Sweat permeated my entire frame.
Breathing was heavy and laborious.
These symptoms were consistently mine for the first month of our walking regiment which consisted of five days a week, no exceptions.
Why did I keep walking?
The foremost reason was that I really enjoyed time with Chris and the budding intimacy that was being developed in our time together and ……
I possess one of those natures that is internally motivated and driven to achieve. The need to be challenged sits in me like an empty tank ready to be filled.
Chris happened to be my pump.
Her consistent presence in my life was a daily motivator and challenge to me.
I continued on because of her.
Within about two months, my stride was equal to that of my friend and through the process I began to eat less, walk more, and enjoy a wonderful new friendship.
Chris’s walk greatly influenced my own and her invitation to a challenge stirred me.
Chris gives credit to the excellent quote:
“If it doesn’t challenge you
It doesn’t change you.”
-Fred Devito

Praise be to God for the individuals who spark challenge, life, and vibrancy into our lives and evoke healthy challenge and change as a result.
Their worth is inestimable!
To these individuals I commemorate three life lessons with an emphasis toward the spiritual:

1) My friend would have laughed at the idea that a simple invitation to take a walk could impose life changing and health altering consequences in my life.
But it did.
That walk also fostered an intimate friendship that I deeply needed in that period of my life for which I will ever be grateful.
A simple walk has the power to do that.
In similar fashion, you have something to give another because God has designed you to be something for another. Extend your hand and heart and welcome someone new into your world. 
Take a walk with someone in some arena of your life and ask God to use the walk to foster intimacy and spiritual growth in someone else’s life ... along with your own.

2) Don’t resist the challenging stride of another even if it looks initially impossible.
You will be amazed at what someone else’s stride contributes to your own; especially when it's stronger than yours.
Evaluate your present cluster of relationships and consider which individuals stimulate and challenge you to growth in a positive direction and stick with them!
If your circle is still the same circle as 20 years ago; you’re missing out.
Brothers and sisters in Christ each walk with a unique stride of their own; therefore, each has a contribution to make in our walk with Christ and fellowship with one another. Hold a different hand, walk a different stride, and see where God leads you.
*This is my opportunity to challenge you to read God's word in 90 Days and see what He does through it. 
Prayerfully consider the challenge offered in the 90 Day Circles beginning in July.

3) Those nasty blisters are just no fun but we don’t grow without them either.
If your walk with Christ looks like mine; you’re familiar with spiritual blisters, bobbles, and burns. It’s so encouraging to have someone walk a leg of the journey with us and impart a little bit of truth and grace along the way and it’s even more wondrous when we decidedly perform that role in someone else’s life.
To every different individual I have ever walked with and every hand I have ever held, thank-you.
Your stride has made all the difference.

“And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works."
Hebrews 10:24