A couple weeks ago while in Colorado, my sister Amy, my 14 year-old niece Elizabeth (who I call Bertie), and I went hiking. This hike wasn’t an ordinary hike in the mountains. We hiked Peak 8- elevation 12,987 feet. Now our hike started at 9,979 feet and it was 1.89 miles to the tippy-top- which was our goal. Just to give you perspective, this 1.89 mile hike included a change of elevation of 3,007 feet.
Although this hike was tough, it was definitely achievable for me. Now my niece didn’t realize the challenge she was about to face when she agreed to hike with us.
Bertie’s journey climbing Peak 8 paralleled the journey I am having as I work toward my vision, and paralleled my relationship with God.
After the first ten minutes it seemed like we were hiking at a 90 degree angle. I thought to myself, “What are we getting ourselves into?” Bertie was hanging in there. This reminded me of myself when I quit teaching to move home to Maryland to start CCWA. I knew it was going to be an intimidating feat to accomplish, but I was confident in what God called me to do.
After hiking the first strenuous mile we stopped for a break, and Amy whispered to me that Bertie wanted to stop because her legs were hurting. Amy and I gave her a pep talk, encouraged her, and had her turn around and see how far she had climbed. She begrudgingly continued on with us.
Again, I thought about my first year and how hard it was creating and writing my programs, learning about entrepreneurship, sales, marketing, and feeling like I made no progress. And just as Amy and I rallied around Bertie, so did my peers, parents, and the love of God rally around me to keep climbing. I had to (and still do) turn around to see how far God has taken me along my journey and what He has accomplished through me.
So we continued to climb Peak 8, and the last .89 miles were the steepest part of the hike. It still was another hour until we finally reached the top, but 20 minutes into the last leg we took an extended break. During this break Bertie had reached her breaking point. She had full on tears, she was crying and blubbering, “I don’t want to go on. You and Aunt Katie aren’t listening to me! I told you I hurt and I just want to stay here!”
It was a battle of the wills- was Amy going to encourage her on or give in and let Bertie quit? At this point I had to speak up, because the parallel to what Bertie was feeling was exactly how I feel when I am at a point in my vision when I want to quit. I gave my best impromptu motivational speech, “Bertie we are NOT going to let you stop when you are so close to the top! I refuse to let you quit. Your mom and I know you are so much stronger than you realize! You are almost there! You CAN do this! We can go as slow as you want, but you CAN do this! Think about how proud you will be of yourself once you reach the top?”
Did it work? Oh heck no! So then I resorted to guilt, tough love and using her full name. I said, “Elizabeth! I want you to think of everything your mom does for you and gives you! All she is asking is that you go to the top with her. Now, you can cry and curse us all the way to the top, but you are going to keep going until we reach that top!”
Did that work? Yep! She started stomping up the mountain while sobbing, “I already feel like crap and you and mom are making me feel even worse!”
“Good! Whatever it takes to get you moving!” I retorted. Guess what? She made it to the top and her whole demeanor changed. She was smiling, laughing and taking pictures from the top.
Again, I thought about how many times I reacted like Bertie when faced with a challenge in my work. Those moments at night when I’m pretty sure it looked like a full-on tantrum from God’s perspective. I cried to God, asking Him to get me out of the tough place I was in. I wanted to quit and go back down my “personal mountain.” The mind weeds whispered to me, “You can’t handle the challenge of being an entrepreneur! Go back to the flat plains of teaching. It’s safer there.” In those moments, God gave me the shoulder shake I needed. Those shoulder shakes came through my mom and through the Holy Spirit. I heard God’s Spirit whisper, “I haven’t brought you this far for you to quit. Look at how I have provided for your every need. I am still with you, leading you up the mountain. So dry those tears and get up and get moving!”
This verse from St. Paul is my go-to verse when I am ready to throw in the towel: “Let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit.”- Galatians 6:9 (MSG)
So how was the climb down? Was it easier for Bertie? Well….. that’s a whole other blog!
Are you stuck in the plains, only dreaming about climbing your mountain? Or are you halfway up your mountain and you are struggling to keep moving?
CCWA is committed to helping the Christian visionaries who need support getting started on their vision or who are struggling along their journey. Our services not only provide spiritual support and encouragement as clients pursue their vision, but we also work one-on-one with our “big-thinkers” to give them practical support, tools, and strategies to keep moving where God is calling them to go. Are you in need of both spiritual and practical help with your dreams and ideas for your future? We invite you to schedule a complimentary Vision Clarity Session to help you get clear on your vision and your biggest obstacle that is holding you back from living your vision. Click here to schedule your free session today!
Where are you in your vision? Are you stuck in the plains, dreaming about climbing your mountain?