When life presses down on me until I feel my heart buckle, I've learned to get outside and walk. Behind our neighborhood is an undeveloped area, and I love to position myself where I have a clear view of the trees and the hills beyond. I walk quickly, reciting Psalm 121:
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
Sometimes I speak the refrain over and over, until I can truly take a deep, lingering breath.
The many responsibilities I carry and the frailties of my gaping humanness can convince me to see life as a mountain I must climb, with towering obstacles to overcome along the way. The challenges are daunting, discouraging, and heartbreaking. And my mindset has been this: once I've reached the top, I will have figured out how to "get it right". But the goal is NOT reaching the top of the mountain- for that will happen when I see Jesus face to face. If I re-frame my thinking to embrace climbing the mountain in moment by moment closeness with God- taking the journey in and through him, then I will understand the true purpose of the mountain I call life; to know Him, to let Him draw me deeper still. Part of the journey is learning when to walk with him, and when to let him carry me, for there are steep inclines which this mortal frame was never meant to struggle upon. The key is to let Him do the work, for there are some places that are for His hands and feet only. Aloneness is a choice, and when I choose instead to rest in him completely, rather than holding him at arm's length-- it's in those times when I experience the gift of his presence, his arms gathering me up, sustaining me, giving me rest, healing the wounds in my heart, preparing me for the continuation of the journey. The mountain top is not the goal. Rather, I fix my eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith- whose joy is day to day relationship with me. He is the goal, his presence the greatest summit of all.