Mountains

When I was a kid, I used to love to listen to the Sound of Music.  I watched the movie so many times that the scenes of the mountains will be forever etched into my memory.  As I got a little older I had the privilege of going to those mountains that I had seen in the movie.  As I’ve aged I’ve learned that there are many different types of mountains in our lives with breathtaking views as well as those that are filled with thorns and brush that we don’t see from the top. 

I love going to Pilot Mountain.  It’s a small mountain in NC but it holds a lot of meaning for my family.  In a lot of ways, that mountain makes me feel closer to my grandfather, who was one of the owners of the mountain before it was sold and later became a State Park.  That’s a story for another day.  Yet the closeness that I feel to him is nothing compared to how my soul feels being on the peaks of the mountain.  In a strange way, I feel so close to God that it’s as close as I can get to the heavens without actually being there. 

I’m reminded of the struggles that Jesus dealt with.  For forty days he fasted.  He was tempted by the devil, felt abandoned, struggled with his faith and while he had a strong faith that never wavered, he showed humanity.  The emotions he felt were real.  They were signs of a person that while he was held to a higher standard, he felt the struggles of his own internal mountain climb. 

Isn’t that how all of us feel at times?  Sometimes we just don’t feel good enough.  Other people believe in us and in our ability to come through but unless we have that same feeling about ourselves, we struggle to climb mountains.  We see the world at the base and think we’ll never reach the peak and then we find ourselves putting one foot on the mountain and taking the steps.  One step becomes two and two steps become three and the count grows.  Sometimes the pace quickens and other times it slows but once we start climbing we have to ask ourselves do we keep going or do we go back down the mountain? 

When we take on a project that seems impossible, do we pray?  Do we ask for the guidance to help us achieve those milestones?  Some people believe they should pray while others may not share the same view. 

Right now I know of several people who are climbing literal health mountains.  They are fighting for their lives to beat different forms of cancer.  Every day is a battle.  They have some days where they have more energy than others, and while that may be normal for all of us at times, these folks have their energy zapped faster than the rest of us.  It isn’t just cancer that does this.  One woman who I care for greatly fights MS (multiple sclerosis)  every single day but you won’t ever see her with a pity party.  She has learned to adapt to living with the disease and not letting it rule her life.  She has more strength and conviction than most people I know and I admire her greatly. 

Each of us has our own mountain.  We have it in our relationships, our personal and professional lives, and our physical and emotional toils create their own mountains.  So how do we fix ourselves when all we see are mountains.  For one thing, look at the mountain.  Start at the base and look up.  If you can’t see the mountain top, then look at what you can.  Look for the cracks before you start the climb.  You may not always see the dangers lurking ahead but you can prepare by researching from those who have already climbed those mountains.  I’m not saying everything in life is research but I am saying be prepared.  We have fewer chances of getting lost if we forge a map towards the top of the mountain. 

Another thing that I highly recommend is to pray.  Many of us forget that we are supposed to be praying for the guidance we need in both the good and bad times.  Sometimes, even if we’re stuck in neutral in our lives, praying can help us to gain clarity.  If you aren’t a spiritual person, you might want to consider taking moments of silence and just clear your mind.  Reflect by sorting out your thoughts and start planning.  Most mountains have trails that have already been paved but not all do.  Sometimes the only way to get to the top is to climb the rocks and for some of us that can be very challenging if not impossible.  For those situations, I reiterate the point that nothing is impossible.  Not even mountains.  We are all climbing mountains that are challenging.  The mind is one of the most powerful tools that God bestowed upon us.  He gave us free will but he also gave us courage, strength, the ability to think and the ability to process information.  What we do with those tools will determine how successful we will be to get over the mountains in our lives. 

Internally mountains are difficult to ascertain.  They often sneak up on us and we can’t see them until we literally hit the base.  In some ways, it’s like being in the ocean and coming up on mountains that the ocean has hidden only to slam into part of the mountain with a boat and realizing that the only way to get around the mountain is to either go back or find the portal that will allow us to explore unchartered territory. 

There are some individuals who are fighting the mountain of debt, addiction, mental illnesses, diseases other than cancer or MS but are just as deadly.  There are families who are dealing with children who are broken or families who are broken and take it out on their children.  These children end up in the system and while some are able to make it to the top of the mountain, others are left hanging on until they fall off and give up. 

God has a purpose for all of us.  He shows us repeatedly ways to go to the top of our mountain but we are often too dense to hear what he tells us.  Yet, when we do hear him, and we reach the top, we admire the view.  It may not be a long view but it certainly leaves an imprint in our minds, hearts, and souls that we carry with us.  It’s forgotten for a spell but those memories come flooding back and leave us with the knowledge of what can be.  Those mountains allow us to dream, to feel, and to escape when the climb has been achieved but the duration of the climb can be exhausting, draining, and frustrating.  Just remember, no matter what mountain you may climb, God is climbing it with you.  He’s guiding you.  Just breathe, listen to what he says in your heart and your head and follow the paths he’s laid out.  When the trails end, there will always be a way to the top.  Look up, don’t panic and trust yourself and trust God to bring you to an incredible view.  For those who don’t believe in God, believe that as long as you believe in yourself, you can conquer mountains, fear, and anything else that may try to bring you down.  There will always be mountains to climb and conquer but the tools we use in life will change, just like the peaks that have to be climbed. 

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