Life and the Trail

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The view from the top of one of the mountains we climbed

In the life of Jesus, we see many trials and tribulations. We see pain, rejection, and loss. However, through all of the low-points in the life of Christ, we also see great victory. We can observe extraordinary triumphs and inspirational moments as Jesus walks the path of life that we, as Christians, try so desperately to follow. 

I recently made a great accomplishment. I hiked a thirty-mile trail over the span of four nights and five days, all while carrying a 30-40 pound backpack. As I hiked the thirty-mile loop I became aware of some of my weaknesses, insecurities, and struggles, but in the end, I overcame them thanks to the Lord. 

At the beginning of the hike, I was strongly tempted to turn around and drive home. The voices in my head were telling me that there was no way I would survive this, no way I would enjoy this, and no way that I could do this. I ignored them and hopped on the trail with the rest of the Extreme Encounters group which included two of my sisters. 

On the first day, we hiked roughly 2.5 miles and climbed over two mountains. It was relatively easy, but over the first mountain, I quickly realized that it is extremely difficult to try and talk to your friends as well as get enough air to breathe while hiking an incline! I was trying very hard to keep up with everyone else’s seemingly fast pace and quickly grew tired. After we reached our campsite for that night I figured that if I could hike two mountains in one day and feel alright, then the next day should be just as simple.

I was wrong.

On the second day of the trip, we hiked nine miles and went over four mountains. The third mountain was twice as tall as any other mountain we climbed that week. Aside from my constant fear of tripping and tumbling all the way back down to the bottom of the tallest mountain on the trail, it was alright.

On that day I learned a very valuable lesson. I was constantly feeling like my pace was not fast enough. It was hard to keep up with the people in front of me and challenging to stay ahead of the people behind me. I felt like I was being left behind and rushed all at the same time. It took that entire mountain to show me that trying to match another person’s pace was unnecessary. It’s the same in real life. Everyone is moving at a different pace that God has set for them. Some people move faster in certain areas while others may seem to take their time. Trying to match what someone else is doing could lead to you being unreasonably exhausted and fatigued. It is much easier to focus on the beauty around you (both in life and on the trail) when you are not hyper-focused on the speed of the people around you. 

We climb mountains in life. We go through wilderness experiences and endure struggles and hardships that seem impossible to overcome. After every mountain I climbed, I gained confidence. If I could climb one mountain, surely I could climb six. In life, we get to the base of a mountain and look up. We try to see how high it goes so that we can know if it is too big or too much to handle. However, the tall trees surrounding the trail make it impossible to tell since you can’t see above them. We can’t know the future, so we just have to trust that our compasses will always know where north is, that our hiking boots will not fall apart and that our guide really does know where he is going. 

The trip went so well. I had a lovely time! One thing that I learned is that you are never alone. Even if you hike away from the group, get left behind, or even lost, we can enjoy the omnipresent powers of God and know that even when we feel disoriented, we are never lost.

Will I hike the Eagle Rock Loop again? Probably. Would I enjoy it? Most likely. Even though this summer has not looked like what most of us would have originally wanted, it has turned into a great opportunity to seek the Lord in new ways. Keep fighting the good fight and keeping the faith.

 

Maddison

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