Walking straight through it

One of my favorite things about where we live is going for a walk every day on the trail behind our house. For the past few months, doing that has been a challenge.

It has been raining for about four months straight. The prairie behind us has become a lake. Several spots on the trail are deep in water. Even when it stops raining for a few days, the ground is so soaked that the water can’t drain.

Earlier this year, I got a new pair of walking shoes that I love. However, they are made of a thin mesh material. The instant I step in water, it soaks right through to my socks. Every time I walk on the trail, I come home with shoes and socks that are soaked with muddy water. I end up annoyed at my wet socks and frustrated at how often I have to wash my shoes.

This morning, I wanted to go for a walk, but I could tell just looking out the window that the trail was going to be soaked. My other option is to go for a walk on the sidewalk and then a paved trail. It’s still nice, but I was really craving the nature of my trail around the prairie.

Then, an amazing thought occurred to me. Wait for it….

I could wear different shoes. I have several older pairs of running shoes that are made of much thicker material. I bet I could simply choose another pair of shoes, and my feet wouldn’t get completely soaked.

I put on my old shoes and when I got to the first wet spot, I didn’t try to find a way around it, hopping from one muddy area to the next.


I walked straight through the middle.

I felt a bit of water soaking through my shoes, but barely anything compared to what would have happened in my other shoes,

I immediate realized how stupid I have been.

For the past few months, I have been held back from doing something I love by a mental block I had created for myself. I just assumed I should wear my new shoes. I assumed that my feet would have to get soaking wet if I took my favorite walk on the trail.


I started thinking about all of the other ways this is true in my life.

I have a long list of things I want to try. But my mind is constantly telling me why I’ll fail. I’m not talented enough, smart enough, young enough, creative enough, popular enough, and the list goes on.

When I look back at this year so far, I also can make a list of hard things that I had to confront, and I actually did them! I have had difficult conversations. I’ve made challenging requests. I’ve tackled big items on my to do list. I’ve walked straight through deep water and came out on the other side feeling stronger.

I’ve been intentional about listening for God’s voice in my life and then mustering the courage to follow, even when it doesn’t make sense. #brave


On a less spiritual side, I’ve also started doing a few things that have helped:

At the top of my to do list, I write the words: “YOU CAN DO THIS!” It sounds so cheesy, but it is amazing how much it helps me to see those words when it comes time to tackle something difficult on my list.

On the front of my laptop, I cut out a vinyl sticker with the words: “Creativity takes courage.” It reminds me that I can be brave enough to try things, and be OK whether or not I succeed.

I have been unfollowing and unsubscribing from everyone who weighs me down. If a person or organization consistently posts words that annoy me, I don’t need to see those posts! I have the power to unfollow.

Finally, I’m making a conscious effort to control my thoughts. I can spend way too much time replaying past events or worrying about the future. When I notice myself doing either of those things, I stop and get back to what I need to do right now.


This morning, I learned a very important lesson about life. I have been blaming the wet, muddy trail for the fact I couldn’t go for a walk. I have been blaming the rain. I’ve been mad at the standing water that won’t drain.

The truth is, I just needed to change my shoes.


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5 responses to “Walking straight through it”

  1. Susan Avatar

    I love this, Emily. I have so many mental blocks, too- I’m too tired, I’m alone, I’m not good enough/talented enough/brave enough. But I can take baby steps, put on my muck boots and get through. Thanks for a great metaphor.

    1. emilyneal Avatar

      It’s not easy! Some days, it’s literally just baby steps. I hope you can take time to look back at all of the hard things you’ve already done and celebrate! Love you.

  2. Smitha_rao78@hotmail.com Avatar

    This is a great blog! I easily create mental blocks on so many things and don’t even attempt them. I like how you write those words on your to do list so it’s a constant reminder!

    1. emilyneal Avatar

      Smitha, it’s crazy what a difference it makes to write those words on my to-do list. Every time Iook at the list, I start feeling overwhelmed… Then I see my reminder that I can do it, and I’m like… yeah… ok… I’ve got this!

  3. Sues Avatar

    Love this!!! And totally relate.

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I’m Emily

Storyteller. Photographer. Creative.

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