The column “Find Your Buried Treasure” appears weekly in the Chanhassen (MN) Villager. This column was published on January 27, 2011.

“Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”

This is a new mantra that several friends and I are using to remind and inspire ourselves whenever our energy or our resolve starts to weaken or fade.

Actually, the words come from the Bible – John 5:8 – so they’re not exactly new. But they’re new in how we’re using them in our lives.

The friends are members of a Goals and Dreams Group that we started years ago. In that time, the group has become a number of different things at different times – a support group, a book club, a self-help and self-improvement group, and a fan club consisting of four really good friends who are each other’s biggest and loudest cheerleaders.

Right now, we’re working through the Dream Coaching program. I’m leading the program, but I’m also an active participant. There are several versions of the Dream Coach workbook, and we’re using the one called “Manifesting God’s Plan in Your Life.” Each session includes Biblical quotes, stories and references that support and relate to the learning for that week, and the above verse – about Jesus healing a man who had been weak and ill and unable to walk for 38 years – was part of the session about taking serious steps forward.

I can’t think of a more relevant or appropriate verse, because as we work toward our dreams – not just the women in our group, but anyone – we will never get anywhere if we just think about them, talk about them, want them and wish for them. We have to take action. We have to take steps toward them. We have to start walking.

One of the things we do in our group is spend a few minutes during each coaching session talking about our favorite Bible quote or story from that week. What struck everyone about this quote was not so much the healing, but the faith. When Jesus commanded the man to pick up his mat and walk, he did, even though he had been bedridden – or “mat-ridden” – for almost 40 years!

When you have a dream, no matter how impossible it may seem or how long it’s been since you’ve done anything related to it, you have to have faith. And you have to keep walking, even when you’re not sure exactly where the next step is going to take you.

That’s why the women in my group – myself included – have decided to use the above quote as a cue and a reminder to ourselves and each other whenever our dreams get a little cloudy or our steps start to falter. Whenever we tell ourselves or each other, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk,” we’ll smile and remember that we have to keep moving toward our dreams, and we have to have faith that we will get there.

I think this is pretty good advice for anyone, in any situation. It’s just as applicable to our professional as our personal lives. It’s appropriate no matter what religious beliefs a person holds. And it’s effective for virtually anything we want to accomplish or achieve.

So feel free to use it if there’s any area of your life right now in which you could use a little nudge. Perhaps you’ve gotten sidetracked, or you’re up against some obstacles that have stalled your progress or stopped you completely. You may have become paralyzed or immobilized by circumstances that are overwhelming or seem to be beyond your control. And you may have given up on dreams you used to have because there’s too much work, too little time, or too many roadblocks in your way.

If that’s the case, then gather up as much faith, determination and enthusiasm as you can find within yourself, and resolve to get moving again. Making the decision and voicing the commitment are the first and most powerful steps. After that, just get up, pick up your mat, and walk.

© Betty Liedtke, 2011