Today I spent several hours on a mountain trail—something I haven’t done in years. It took little time for me to realize I am not the same person who used to run up such trails. I was on a hike—intending to go to one of the peaks in the area both for training and to enjoy the view.
But my body didn’t plan to do so.
Between my inability to breathe and climb the mountain at the same time, and my oversight in not bringing my asthma medication, I told my friends to go on with their hike. I would do what I could, and would meet them at the trailhead when they were done. As they left me in the dust I continued to hike up the mountain, slowly, and not so surely. I kept going for hours, making slow progress. As I often do, I talked to our Father as I went.
I found myself stopping and praising God for the beauty around me. I would stop and enjoy, then continue up the mountain, and continue the cycle over and over. The old me was so driven I would not allow myself to do this. I would have pushed hard and finding myself unable to do what I planned, turn around and head down the mountain to the trailhead. Instead, I decided to just enjoy the mountain, God’s creation, and the fact that I was able to be out there at all.
I found myself convicted by the Holy Spirit that I was so caught up in getting where I was going I wasn’t being where I was. As I continued to hike I asked the Lord if maybe this had described not just my day, but my life? For years I was so driven that I would push myself so hard to “get where I was going” I often missed the joy of just being where I was! I fear I still do. Family, education, profession—I routinely focus so much on getting there I don’t enjoy being “here”.
I asked the Lord to let me just enjoy his creation on the mountain. As I did, I continued to go up—eventually reaching the first (but not the final) goal of the hike. I wasn’t so worn out I couldn’t stand and enjoy his beauty. I had the ability to head back down the trail and again stop and look at different things I normally would pass by. I talked with people and shared the joy of the outing with them. And I prayed that the Lord would allow me to not forget this lesson.
I know there is nothing wrong with planning and hard work. But it isn’t the most important thing. The most important thing is to master the art of standing still, and knowing that He is God. Of looking around and seeing not just that which we strive to move past, but the beauty that God has provided. I suspect I’m going to be able to do a better job of that now.
If you find yourself identifying with my day—and my lesson—I invite you to join me as we simply enjoy being where we are, even as we move along toward where we are going! Ultimately, I invite you to join me in the delight of belonging to Our King!