Thursday, October 16, 2014

Overcoming Negativity: Day 15: Conquering the Rock Scrambles

When leaving the Land of Negativity, we will encounter challenges. But challenges are part of the journey.

Yesterday, I took a break from the Overcoming Negativity series to talk about what I learned on my most recent hike. Today is a continuation of that.
The deceptively "easy" trail
in the beginning

The second day of our trip to the Catskills took us to a 7.2 mile hike called the Escarpment Loop by North/South Lake in Haines Falls, NY. According to the website that we get our hikes from, this was a moderate hike, as opposed to most all other hikes in the Catskills, which are strenuous.

I commented to Hubster early on in the hike that it seemed quite easy, although I was certain that the moderate part would come later. Boy, did it! We encountered cliffs, ledges and rock scrambles. Some of these scrambles had to conquered by hoisting myself up on to one rock, then another. Some of the rocks were waist high and I thought, How on earth am I going to get up that? It was during those moments when I wished I hadn't dropped out of my Barre exercise class. But I did get up. Again and again.

Toward the end of the hike, my legs were sore and shaking. My feet hurt. And I was tired. A few times, I'd look for the blaze to see which way the trail went, only to find that it went up. Again. Steeply. Again. Another ascent? Another rock scramble? (and this was a moderate hike!)

I would never finish the hike unless I climbed. There was no use complaining about it. It had to be done.

No one conquers the mountain simply by looking at it.
I took a picture of Brain taking pictures.
Just watching him get close to the edge
set me on edge! 
It's one thing to have faith.  But sometimes God requires us to put our faith into action. Sometimes you just have to climb that mountain.

Leaving the Land of Negativity or journeying out of any bondage is a lot like that hike. You're excited in the beginning. You're determined you're not going to be negative any more. You're going to conquer this thing. People tell you that it might be hard, because you've gotten into a pattern, but you think, oh how hard can it be?

Then you encounter a rock scramble. Okay, piece of cake. You scramble up and over. Then comes another. And another. 

Then your legs start to shake, your feet start to hurt and you just want to sit down and give up. You look around for the blaze to tell you the way, and suddenly you see it, on a tree high up on a hill---a really big hill. You groan. Again? Lord, I thought I was in the homestretch. I thought it would get easier, but it's gotten harder. I didn't think it would be this hard.

And then the Holy Spirit whispers to you, as He whispered to me:

You always have a choice, Beloved.

You can turn back if you want. Yes, you can go back, but truthfully, it will be a bit boring. You've come so far that it would take you twice as long to go back to where you came from. And the hurdles you've overcome you will face once again from a different perspective. You've already conquered those challenges, walked that trail. Going back would be futile and you will remain unfulfilled.

Or you can remain where you are, but eventually you'll starve, running out of sustenance. You'll create a rut from moving around in the same spot. The longer you turn round and round in your rut, the deeper it becomes until it is so great that you'll never get out and you'll just stagnate. You'll become so immersed in your rut that when others come by, they'll be unable to rescue or help you because they won't see or hear you. Rut-living is perhaps even worse than going back. can take a deep breath and start the ascent. You will get up. You will get through, you will get over, and you will conquer your stumbling block because I will go with you. 

I am not the God of going back. I am not the God of rut-dwelling. I am the God of hope and of promise. And if I am for you, then who can be against you?
You can do it one more time. And if necessary, on more time after that. Just keep going!

What "rock scramble ascent" have you been challenged by over and over? Are you trying to go back to the Land of Negativity, are you Rut-Dwelling or are you moving forward: up, over, through and out into the Land of Hope and Promise?

View from Lookout Rock, Haines Falls, NY
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose...if God is for us, who can be against us?...Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?...Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 


In all these things, we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us...

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom 8:28-39, selected)

Don't try to do it alone. 

Blessings Along the Path,


Song of the Day: if you're struggling, you MUST listen to this!
I am Persuaded (Travis Cottrell with Beth Moore)

Sharing today with Lyli at Thought Provoking Thursday and Crystal at Thriving Thursdays

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