A few years ago I decided to take a hike. I knew nothing about this trail except that campers had 'run' this same trail for exercise. I was not too concerned, I was just going to be walking. Right?
Emotionally and spiritually I had hit a wall.
I just wanted to be on a mountain trail, alone and quiet. I was making space for myself and I really needed it. Taylor was happy to take care of the younger two kiddos so I could go. Shrugging off stupid mom-guilt I headed toward the trail.
The weather was cool and the leaves were gorgeous. Even the acorns were beautiful. Did I mention it was completely quiet?
I thrive in the mountains. It is my happy place.
The first 20 minutes were fantastic.
The grade slightly increased. I was excited to think I was getting closer to the top. I saw signs that marked one mile and then two. Surely I was close. My anticipation was growing.
The grade increased even more.
The acorns that were beautiful now were slippery. I was having to pay attention to each of my steps instead of admiring the leaves and the birds.
By the time I saw the 3 mile marker I began to be concerned. But I wanted to see the view at the top!
The final part of the hike was literally like climbing stairs. My out-of-shape-self was struggling. I had to be intentional and careful. The very last steps were the hardest.
But every single one was worth it.
The view of the top of the mountain was breathtaking. A hawk was soaring across the expanse. The challenging part of the hike was forgotten. I was so glad I came. I was proud of having completed it. As I sat and soaked in the the miles and miles I could see. And I was refreshed.
Where are you on your journey?
Have you hit a wall and need a break? Do you need to make time for yourself? What do you love to do? It may not have anything to do with hiking. Give yourself permission to do something that you enjoy...ALL BY YOURSELF.
Maybe making space for you is a personal victory all by itself. Congratulations! So many times we have been taught it is selfish to do something for ourselves. What we are saying is we can place worth and value on everybody else...but not on ourselves. There truth is we are worth a high price to our good Dad. Shouldn't we see ourselves as He sees us?
If you are in the midst of a hard trail I am you cheering you on today. Do not give up. The summit will be worth it. You really can do it!
I can hear some of you now. "But Betsy, you have no idea how hard my journey is." You are absolutely correct. I do not begin to assume I can know your journey. But I know our good Dad. You are not alone. He promises that He will never leave you. If you feel at the end of yourself, lean into the Lord and know that "you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you." (Phil. 4:13)
Last year I did the hike a second time. I shaved 15 minutes off my time and I noticed I was stronger. The exercise over that year had paid off. (I had started taking time for myself to get healthy.) I totally enjoyed it.
This time I passed one group of teenagers doing the hike. They were at the point where the grade had increased and one frustrated fellow turned around and headed back down the mountain all by himself. He did not think he could do it. I prayed for his heart knowing that a teenager just given up in front of friends.
What about you? Have you headed down the mountain? Even if you are at the bottom, it is not too late. Rejoice if you tried. It is good to be thankful for even small steps. But this does not have to be the end of the story.
You can try again. I believe in you. God is with you wherever you are on the trail.
Part of this crazy adventure we are on is that we have a part to play. It is good to be honest with ourselves about where we have been and at the same time feel empowered to move forward powerfully.
If you are needing a break....take one.
Maybe your path has gotten steep and you are tempted to give up...keep stepping. Just take the next step.
Are there tears in your eyes because you gave up and it hurts? Take heart my friend. Your journey is not over and there are still miles to go. One decision does not get to define the rest of your life.
I would love to hear your stories. What is your journey like? Did you make it to the summit? Or did you head back down the mountain? How do you feel about you story today?
We would love to hear from you in the comments below.
Taking time for yourself is so precious. You really are worth it!
If you are wanting some help in this journey of faith and want to go deeper in prayer check out this article on Treasuring Our Words. Also taking control back of our choices can make a huge impact. And not letting our To-Do List Rule us is a big part of that process.
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