Monday, September 13, 2010

Discovering what you're made of

Today we hiked to the peak of a mountain in the Swiss Alps. It was so steep, that each step was like climbing a set of stairs and we did that for about 45 minutes. It was the most grueling walk I have done since before my hip surgery, maybe for a few years actually. We were hiking up to the top, picnic in hand, to sit and eat alongside the huge wooden cross placed on the peak. About 50 metres from the top, I was utterly exhausted and I began to doubt if I had any strength left to make it there. Tim was tired as well, but obviously not struggling as much as I was. I stopped for a few moments and thought about how it was probably more of a mental barrier that I needed to push through, rather than a physical one. I was completely capable of getting to the top, but whether I believed that would probably be the determining factor. Sure, I was experiencing some pain in my muscles and soreness in my hip, but all of that was only because I hadn’t put myself under any strain in a while. Looking up at the cross as my final destination, I considered the journey Jesus took to calvary and how much pain he would have been in….and yet he still carried his cross. His physical stamina would have been stretched beyond comprehension, but it was probably His mental stamina that caused him to keep going.

I haven’t really liked hiking all that much in the past, especially slopes, and I have discovered that it’s because the activity is way too uncomfortable and challenging. I would rather admire the view from a more easily accessible place…like the deck of our hostel in the alps. What I have realized though, is that sometimes being in ‘uncomfortable’ situations brings out the worst in you and this is not necessarily a bad thing. For it raises your awareness and brings you to a crossroad where there is a decision to be made…. ‘will I move forward and push through this mental barrier, or will I turn back in avoidance?’ It is at these crossroads where we have the opportunity to discover what we’re truly made of.

Thankfully, I decided to push through that day and when I made it to the peak, the exhilaration was indescribable. The 360 degree view was spectacular and we sat down by the cross to enjoy our picnic lunch. We couldn’t help but give thanks to God for everything He has brought us through and especially for my health because 12 months ago, a hike like this was inconceivable. As we gazed out to the horizon, we were feeling pretty satisfied with ourselves indeed.


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