Remember the old Heinz ketchup commercials? “The best things happen to those who wait!”
I HATED those.
I HATE waiting.
If you have read my Blog for any length of time, you know I am an impatient, easily frustrated, quitter. If something gets too hard, takes too long, or doesn’t progress the way I want…. I drop it. I’m done. Finished. Wipe my hands clean of it.
Last Fall, I decided I wanted to complete 100 miles of hiking in the Smokies. I bought my little log book, wrote down what I had already hiked and saw I lacked just a few miles.
“Gosh, I’m REALLY awesome!” I thought to myself as I added my miles and looked for that “final” hike to push me over the mark I needed to get my pin.
The day after Thanksgiving, I set out to do my favorite trail in the whole park, Charlie’s Bunion. The miles where just what I needed and I would get to finish on my favorite trail to boot. Win-Win!
After my “victory” hike I came home that night with visions of some glorious ceremony. Ya know….reporters, interviews, headlines! Have I mentioned I am a cocky little thing? 🙂
Imagine my heartbreak and disappointment, when the very next day my BFF looked at my log and noticed my math was wrong.
Math has never been my thing, but I can add…. I thought. Clearly I was mistaken. What I had done was multiply my miles. I didn’t have 100. Not even close. I had just a smidge over 50.
Devastated. I tossed the book aside. There was one more thing I could throw in the “I tired it and failed” pile. “That will never happen.”
But my story, thankfully, does not end here.
At the start of the year, I decided it was time to make some changes. I was fed up with being a quitter. I wanted to finish something.
I desperately prayed to God, “Help me! I don’t want to be a quitter!”
Now, God has answer for everything. It’s true. I opened up my devotional reading right after my plea, and here is what I saw.
Message received. I immediately felt humbled. For the reason of all my failures suddenly became clear… they were all about ME.
Not once had I made anything about HIM. I had gone off and attempted things for ME, looking to gain praise of MYSELF.
Alright God, show me what YOU can accomplish THROUGH me.
On a cold and dreary day in February, I bundled myself up at 5am and set off to the mountains to try again. I was met with a major challenge 1 mile in…
Snow and ice. I wanted to quit. BAD. This was hard. But Micah 7:7 kept playing in my head, and I told God, “This is ALL You. You are the only one that can get me up this mountain.” After about an hour and half of huffing, puffing, crying, laughing, slipping, and sliding, I made it!
It was then I realized just what could happen, when I took my ability out of the equation and I let God do the work THROUGH me.
After that day, the miles accumulated. 5 weeks later I just randomly added them up and I was 2 miles short of 100 miles.
How the heck did THAT happen?
It was actually going to happen!
I made the decision, that I wanted my final miles to come on my longest hardest hike. (Clearly I am an adventure junkie now). 14 miles round trip, up one of the hardest trails to Mt. LeConte, and down another.
This past Saturday morning, I laced up my trusty boots, strapped on my pack and headed up the mountain. It wasn’t until a little over 6 miles later when I was at the top, I realized my dream had come true. I had done it! God had done it.
The agony of the hike was forgotten. Praise was given… not to me, but to the One whose strength pushed me up every last mile of this mountain.
Yesterday, I went and got my pin. Just me. No family. No friends. No reporters and fanfare like I had selfishly envisioned. Just simple. Casual. Low key. SO NOT ME.
I sat in my car alone outside the Visitor Center, and I cried. Tears of praise and awe. 5 months ago, I had resigned to the idea of being a failure. A quitter. Now anything seems possible, because I know it is NOT me, but HIM.
I am so weak. Too cocky. To concerned about self. I get in my own way.
He is strong. He is selfless. He is concerned about me. He IS my guide.
Please do not think I write this to promote myself. Take me totally out of the equation. I write this dear reader because I want you to know that ANYTHING is possible when you stop trying by your own strength.
YOU can accomplish great things.
Me… a lazy, arrogant, unmotivated, quitter, decided that failure was no longer an option. Defeat was taken out of my vocabulary. Instead of giving up, I started looking up.
DO NOT GIVE UP.
You’re mountain may not be a physical one, but it might seem just as big. It’s ok to be nervous …My stomach churns each time I begin a trail. It’s ok to cry …I sure have! It’s ok to go slow …I sure do! It’s ok to ask for help….sometimes we need that person to give us a kick in the rump!
Things don’t look so far off and big anymore. I am almost half way to 250 miles. That’s another pin. Why stop now?
My greatest disappointment turned into my greatest victory. Don’t let obstacles keep you from doing BIG things.
Your victory is just at the top of the mountain!