If you've been following along you know I'm a part of an 8 person team for the Portland to Coast which takes place in under a week. Yikes. My three turns in the relay add up to a 19 mile assignment. One recent morning I went out for a training walk. I headed out from my house, down a monster one mile hill and joined up with my speedy team captain and another good friend. They both walk WAY faster than I do. My captain gave me some excellent tips and good reminders. Three miles later I decided I better take it down a notch and off went the friend and coach. Six miles in and I was at the base of another big monster hill. Big breathe and hauled my body up. I tried to remind myself of all the captain's tips. Somewhere up the hill it hit me that there was a great life application story.
One side effect of writing Quirky Faith is that life applications tend to pop up all the time. Since I gave my family and close friends veto power some of those stories will stay in the vault. Come to think of it, building Quirky Faith is its own challenging hill. Most dreams are uphill; scary and fun.
Climbing a Hill???
1. We all face hills. Sometimes those hills are steep and rocky and painful. I once rode my bike down a rocky hill and straight into a tree. I was wearing my helmet. Good thing too because even so I had a monster headache, smashed up jaw, and bleeding knees. And then I had to haul my body and my bike back up the hill. Totally my fault.
Truth is every single person has times where you are sitting at the bottom of the hill, sometimes bruised and beaten and you have to haul yourself to the top. Some hills are fun and inspiring. Some are not. It might be that fifty pounds, or the credit card debt, or the concrete wall of bitterness you built in your marriage. Or maybe your mountain is not self inflicted. Your partner walked out, the best customer left, cancer hit home.
Doesn't matter really.
Truth is that everyone has a time when the hill is looming. Don't get arrogant to those around you climbing out. And don't despair in comparing your hill with anothers'. Hills hurt. But they are common to us all.
2. Get Up! Did you watch the Nikki Hamblin and Abbey D'Agostino 5000 meter crash in the Olympics. (Read here). I loved this story. These two Olympians tripped up and fell. And then they each took turns helping the other up and finishing the race. D'Agostino ended up running the last mile with a torn ACL. Tough cookie. First step though was to get up. We are all gonna fall. Get up. God is in the business of fresh starts. Leave the junk behind and move on.
3. Keep your Eye on the Top. Remember my bike crash? Happened because I forgot to look at where I wanted to go. Instead I focused on the obstacle ahead and smashed right into it. Same thing in life. If you focus on the climb it is overwhelming. Focus on the goal. The view at the top of the hill is worth the climb.
4. Get a Coach. A captain, leader, mentor, pastor or coach. Oh goodness. I need all the accountability I can get or I seriously flake. I'm also not at all intuitive about how I use my body. I need someone else to watch and help me adjust. If you don't have the tools to climb your hill, ask for help. They have tools you need.
5. Head up, Shoulders Back. Halfway up the training hill my captain yelled out to us "Head up, Shoulder's Back." She reminded us that walking while hunched forward cuts off your oxygen and makes it harder to climb. She said when we stand up straight, relax our shoulder we can breathe better and move faster. Oh so true. Getting through your junk is harder when your head is hung in shame, when doubt and fear are weighing you down. There is NO SHAME in climbing out! Hard work is honorable. Get to the gym, put in the reps, work extra hours, make restitution. But do it with your head up and shoulders back. The grace of God is like oxygen able to help you climb. Don't cut off the source by hanging your head.
6. Don't Quit. Seems obvious. One foot in front of the other all the way to the top. Don't stop. You do not have to climb as fast as the others around you. Just don't stop.
So my race is in a week. I have lots of hills, a great captain and fun teammates. We'll eat and laugh and cheer each other on. And as I climb my hills I will pray for you if you pray for me. Because we all are climbing.
I love Jesus. I think my two daughters can change the world. I think you can too.
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