Of Mountains and Valleys

Lately I’ve been contemplating the difficulty of life. I’m not that old by many people’s standards, yet I have lived through a lot of hardship. I won’t get into the specifics here, because it’s really not the point. I’ve been thinking about the highs and lows, all the the cliches and adages about them, ups and downs, peaks and valleys, mountain tops and rock bottoms. It happens to everyone. I’ve been thinking a lot about how easy it is to be swallowed up in the valleys, to get stuck there. To lay down and give up. 
A lot of goals in life seem to focus on happiness, success, well-being, etc., but what about those people who seem to find themselves in valley after valley. I’ll speak from experience, it’s easy to look around and see people who appear the be on the mountain top. It may or may not be reality, but at least they are laughing, smiling, enjoying. It would be easy to feel envy. But the thought that keeps swirling in my mind is “why are they there, how did they get there?”. Is it luck? Fortune? Did something/someone pluck them from the ground and drop them off on a mountain peak? No.
The truth is, we don’t often think about what it takes to climb a mountain in regard to the analogy of peaks and valleys in life. We just see the end result when looking at someone else’s life. The victorious summit. In reality, climbing a mountain is hard work. It takes effort. It takes perseverance, fortitude, strength, and endurance. It also takes time. It doesn’t happen overnight. To climb a mountain, you are working against the force of gravity.
So today I am writing to encourage you. If you find yourself in a valley. Start climbing. Don’t sit down and look up and expect to find yourself miraculously on a peak. It doesn’t work that way. You must make intentional steps in an upward direction. What those steps are may look different for everyone, and you may be stuck and in need of someone to pull you out, and if that’s you, your step is to reach out and ask. You may know exactly what you need to do, and where you need to go, or you may just need to start and make some forward progress. The important thing is not to give up.
Without the contrast of the valley, the summit would hold much less satisfaction. This is a part of the journey. We are not meant to take it alone. Don’t buy into the lie that you are the only one in a valley, or the only one climbing, or the only one slipping and sliding. You’re not. Life is a pursuit, it’s not a lottery. Sure there are things outside of your control, obstacles, but you can make a way. Turn on some good music, put on your hiking boots, and just put one foot in front of the other. Don’t forget to take in the scenery, there is beauty to be found along the way.
John 16:33

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

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