I am originally from Colorado and thus I have always loved hiking. So naturally, when my husband and I were taking a road trip from our home in San Diego,CA to Phoenix, AZ, I was all about the Camelback Mountain hike!
We set out on the terrain on busy Tuesday morning. For those that have ever been near Camelback Mountain, or have ever done one of the two trails on the mountain, you’ll know it really doesn’t waste anytime going up! It goes from a flat-ish land to boom….mountain! A thrilling challenge!
Midway through out trek, we came upon a particularly rocky incline and a woman who was stopped in the middle (see pic).
I trudged ahead and my husband followed suit and as I approached her, she asked me, “Have you ever done this hike?” I told her that it was our first time. “Oh I was just wondering if the rest of this hike is going to be as rocky as this part?”
I replied that I honestly didn’t know what to expect, but I made mention to, “Use the rocks in your favor. They are steps that help you keep your balance.” and I moved ahead.
I believe she took my advice and promptly turned around!
The rest of the hike, I was in deep thought, wondering about this woman that gave up on her journey because she was afraid it was going to be too hard.
It got me thinking about how many people do that all the time in their life and on their quests for health.
I believe God has placed a mountain before each of us, and if we accept his path, it’s not just taking us onward, but it’s taking us upward! Just like we are hiking!
As this woman noted— when hiking, you really can’t tell what’s ahead. False peaks and winding paths block your view to the top. So it takes quite a bit of trust, courage and perseverance to keep moving onward and upward.
What I see in our society, is that so many of us quit before we even start the hike, deciding we are not sure about this whole God thing to begin with. Others, think they want to follow in God’s path, but quit before reaching the top as they see the challenges.
In terms of your health, I believe that God calls us all to follow Him in ALL things in our life and that includes our quests for better health. I believe we are all here to serve a Greater Purpose in life, and our health is certainly a factor in whether we can do that to our highest potential or not. Our true health doesn’t mean “skinnier” like society might seem to make it, it means healthier in our body, our mind AND our soul. Healthy in the sight of God. Not healthy in the sight of Man.
Many of us face huge mountains ahead of us as we seek true health. There is a real struggle that we face and many times we quit. Thinking that our body’s health or mindset of health is just not able to face this mountain.
But what we miss by quitting or stopping short is the amazing view from the top. What I would term a fully realized blessing from God. A view that is breathtaking and so beautiful that you don’t even remember any struggle along the way, all you can do is sit in awe of God, thankful that he has blessed you far greater than you could ever imagine.
So as I thought about that woman who quit, and I think about all of you out there on your own quests for health, I wanted to share:
5 TIPS TO HELP YOU KEEP CLIMBING!
1.) REMEMBER, Reaching the top is not a matter of WILLPOWER, but a matter of FAITH
So often in life, when we have a set-back on our path and we think, “Oh, if I just had the willpower to keep going!” If we are wanting to get healthier and lose weight, we think it’s all about having enough WILLPOWER to diet and exercise and stay the course.
But, this is not a willpower issue, this is a FEAR issue. We are afraid of what we don’t know.
Some (like me) think we are motivated by fear:
Oh, I HAVE to workout 2-hours a day so I don’t gain the weight back! I have to obsessively measure all my food and count every carb so I don’t gain body fat!
Others are paralyzed by fear:
I can’t even start the idea of working out, because I’m too afraid I’ll fail and be even more disappointed in myself.
It wrecks havoc on our lives.
For those that are motivated in fear, it might mean that we blindly run up the path as quickly as possible, only to realize in our hurry, we missed the shortcut path that God had laid out for us. For those that are paralyzed by fear, it stops us cold in our tracks rendering us unable to move at all.
The solution is not to willpower yourself out of it, but to simply refocus and reframe your thoughts to that of Faith. Look for the next step of what you CAN do.
Looking up at the top, you think, “Oh God, I can’t make it all the way up there!”
But if you look at the next step ahead of you, you probably CAN make the next step.
In your quest for health, you CAN start by walking every day around your block. You can focus on just feeling better, not performing better. You can just create one healthier habit and focus on implementing that, not everything all at once.
In your quest for health, don’t get too caught up in the mountain you have ahead of you, think about that next step that you CAN do and faithfully take that step. God will show you what step to take. Have Faith in HIM, not just faith in YOU.
2.) REMEMBER, THOSE ROCKS ARE STEPS!
The woman on the trail, thought, “Look at all these rocks on my path! No thank you! It’s far too rocky for me.”
What she didn’t see was that the rocks were there for her not against her.
Romans 8:31 says, “If God is for us, who can be against us?”
Had there been no rocks at all and rather just sand or dirt, the hike would be significantly harder. You would take a step up only the slide back down
The rocks in your journey for health are things like finding time to exercise, finding the right foods to eat, a demanding life, work, kids, stress, relationships etc! Many of us see these rocks as blockades, that are against us.
But really, God uses them STEPS to take you higher. Each rock he has placed there, he has done so for a reason. Take a look at all of the rocks and ask how God might be using this rock as a step?
If the rock in your way is you are struggling with finding time to work out and spend time with your family? Maybe God is trying to tell you to workout with your family. Doing push-up challenges, races, jump rope or just exercises during the commercial break of your favorite TV program. Don’t let the rock let you quit. Find a way to use it as a step.
3.) REMEMBER, YOU ARE ABLE, SO STOP SHOULD-ING ALL OVER YOURSELF!
I will be honest, just as the woman had feared, the hike did get harder at some points and had areas that were a challenge!
But, I can tell you that she could have still finished. I had watched her as we were following her for some time and she was in plenty good shape.
God will not put us on any mountain that we are not able to climb.
1 Corinthians 10:13 “God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able.”
It doesn’t mean that it won’t be challenging, quite the contrary. But he says he will not allow you to have more than you can handle.
The reason this woman couldn’t see that was because she was should-ing all over herself. She was thinking things like, “I should be in better shape to do this.” Not realizing she was more than able just the way she was.
If you stop thinking in terms of what you should be doing and instead focus on what God has enabled you with, it will keep your focus on that next step.
4.) REMEMBER, COMPARISON IS THE THIEF OF JOY:
Besides being afraid, I’m sure this woman stopped short because she was intimidated by the other hikers on the path. She was self conscious in her ability to “keep up” with the others.
You have some avid hikers can literally RUN that trail. They are advanced. It can be really intimidating for the average person!
But, comparing your journey to theirs, you are robbing yourself of the joy and the view from where you are.
In reality, those that are running up the hike, might be doing more harm than good. Sure, they might look all fit and in good shape, but check back on their knees cartilage in about 5 years! Check-in on them when they thought they had their footing and instead slipped and fell. Just because something looks glamorous in the health and fitness community, doesn’t mean is the smartest thing for a person to do. A lot of times people are doing crazy things from a place of insecurity themselves.
But another view point is that maybe God is surrounding you people for a reason. Maybe the people around you are there to help you and motivate you, not make you self conscious. More than one person on that hike gave me a helping hand to help me up on a steep step. They were there for a reason. But it was up to ME how I viewed them and used them.
See the others around you on your path to health in the same way. Don’t try to “keep up with them” or compare yourself to them. But use them to help you when you need it. What you might find is that you are there to help others too!
5.) REMEMBER, THE FALSE PEAKS ARE GOOD FOR A VIEW, BUT NOT TO STOP:
Often on hikes we think we are reaching the top only to realize that there’s still more to go! It can be such build-up and let down.
Many people take these false peaks as the “good enough” parts of their journey. They think, well this view from here is beautiful and good enough. The next leg of the journey seems like too much of a hassle to get the energy to get there again.
Similarly in our life we think:
“Church on Sundays is enough. I really don’t have enough time to read the bible or to sit a pray.”
“My exercise routine that I’ve been doing for the last 2-years is good enough. If God is asking me to do any more, I’m just not willing to try something new.”
“This one vegetable I like to eat is good enough. I’d rather just stick to the one thing I know then to try something new.”
We get comfortable with mediocrity. We think our effort so far is good “enough”. But by doing so, we are limiting ourselves from our fully realized blessing! We convince ourself this is all that God has to offer and it takes too much sacrifice and won’t be worth the effort.
Don’t get me wrong, the view that you see from the false peak is beautiful. It should be celebrated and viewed as a blessing! But it’s not the place to stop and quit.
The FULLY-REALIZED, 180° view from the top, kind of blessing is going to be far greater than anything you could ever imagine.
The woman that quit early had NO idea how beautiful it was gong to be! She had no idea what blessing was in store for her and the feeling she would feel from such an accomplishment. She could have done it, but she’ll never know.
You have no idea how wonderful the blessing from God is going to be for your life either! But expect something miraculous! If you’re on the trail, just keep going! If you have quit, get back up and try again! It’s ever too late to follow God’s calling and find that view.