Mountains

Cape Town, Western Cape Africa – Photo taken by Christy Johnson

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 remain 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 and those 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 many ways, that mountain makes me feel closer to my grandfather, who was one of the mountain owners before it sold it in an estate sale 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. Strangely, I feel so close to God that it’s as close as I can get to the heavens without actually being there.

Reminding myself of the struggles that Jesus dealt with by those around him makes me appreciate my beauty. For forty days, he fasted. The devil tempted him; he 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 who felt the struggles of his internal mountain climb while held to a higher standard.

Isn’t that how all of us feel at times? Sometimes we don’t feel good enough. Other people believe in us and in our ability to come through, but we struggle to climb mountains unless we have that same feeling about ourselves. 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 slow, but once we start climbing, we have to ask ourselves whether we keep going or go back down the mountain?

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

Table Mountain – South Africa Photo Taken by Christy Johnson

Right now, I know of several people who are climbing literal healthy 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 I care for dramatically fights MS (multiple sclerosis) every 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 mountain. We have it in our relationships, personal and professional lives, and physical and emotional toils create their mountains. So how do we fix ourselves when all we see are mountains. For one thing, look at the peak. Start at the base and lookup. 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 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 pray for the guidance we need in good and bad times. Sometimes, even if we’re stuck in neutral in our lives, praying can help us gain clarity. If you aren’t a spiritual person, you might want to consider taking moments of silence and 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 conquering our mountains. We are all climbing peaks 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, ability to think and process information. What we do with those tools will determine how successful we will be in getting 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 hit the base. Many times, it’s the realization that what we need is often right in front of us, and we live with blinders on until we realize what was under our noses all along.

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

Pilot Mountain in NC – photo taken by Christy Johnson

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 listen to him and 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, feel, and escape when the climb has been achieved, but the climb’s duration 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. When the trails end, there will always be a way to the top. Look up, don’t panic, trust yourself, and trust God to bring you to an incredible view. 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 destroy, but the tools we use in life will change, like the peaks that need exploring. Have a great day, everyone.

Pilot Mountain in North Carolina – Photo by Ken Gregory

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