“Girl, you really need to just stop. You are embarrassing us, and I really just want to go home and eat a box of Fudge Rounds.”
This is the actual conversation I had with myself about a mile into my hike on Saturday.
The day started out well enough. I met some fellow hiking enthusiast to tackle one of the toughest hikes in the park…. Rocky Top. Most of the people in the group I had never met until that morning… in fact, I only knew two of the ladies and had already hiked with them. But the rest were strangers and I didn’t really know what to expect.
It is always scary for me hiking with folks for the first time…that is when my doubts, insecurities, and fears start to kick in.
About a mile into the hike…. I knew that I was going to have an issue. The climb was unrelenting, and the terrain rough. Everyone else seemed to glide up the mountain side like a herd of gazelles.
“Boy oh boy. You really got yourself in a pickle now. These folks are going to laugh you off the mountain. These are serious hikers… you may think you are an Expert because you have hiked a bunch of miles, but you’re just a fool.” I was so glad that most everyone else was in front of me at that point, because I was sure they could hear this conversation with myself playing out loud.
I wanted so desperately just to tell them to go on without me. “Just leave me here to die. Retrieve me on your way back down and make sure my mother gets the body!” Ok… so I am a wee bit dramatic, but you get the picture.
Don’t you sometimes wish you could take that stupid voice out of your head and give it a good smack?
While I had some things working against me: short legs, a bum foot, and my chubbiness, those were the easy things for me to handle. But that stupid voice would NOT shut up. It just kept screaming at me…. “You can’t do this. If you could only see yourself, you would just die. STOP now.”
This conversation went on till I was about a mile from my destination. I was frustrated with myself, my body, and that stupid voice. And then I saw this:
This is beautiful Spence Field, right off the Appalachian Trail. The picture can NOT do this place any justice. It was calm, bright, vibrant, and just beautiful. The soft grass was like a royal cushion on my weary and rock beaten feet. As I walked off alone for a few minutes and stepped to the edge to soak in the view, I heard a new voice… a more powerful voice then the one in my head.
“You are all together beautiful my darling, there is not a flaw in you.( Song of Solomon 4:7) Listen to me… not yourself. I created you. I know you. You are worthy to be here. See all this before you? It is here because of my hands… it is beautiful and flawless. Just like the mountains and glorious colors before you, I made you. Your short legs, your stocky body, all my masterpiece. Did you hear that? You are a masterpiece. I stand behind my work. You CAN do this, but not on your own strength. Let go and allow me to get you there…. I have SO much more to show you.”
Well, after that, I had to smile. I had just a mile to go…but now I knew I was going to make it. The pain I was feeling numbed and I pushed on up. As I climbed the voice of my self doubt seemed to drown in the Voice of The Almighty… “You are all together beautiful my darling, there is not a flaw in you.” From that moment the rest of the day, I kept up with the group. I didn’t need to slap the voice around, a more thunderous voice did that for me.
And then…. it happened….
I MADE IT!
As I took in the view before me, I had to catch my breath. The greens, blues, white from the clouds….just unbelievable. I was standing on Rocky Top! I literally felt like I could fly!
As I looked around to my hiking mates, I didn’t see strangers anymore, but kindred spirits, who had weathered the journey with me. We all were humbled by the mountain and in awe of her majestic beauty. This was a time to celebrate.
The hike down was just as grueling, but I didn’t seem to mind. Now I knew I was flawless. Created by the One who has the only opinion of me that matters. No longer was I intimidated or out of place….I was strong and fierce!
So much was learned this day.
I AM stronger then I feel.
I AM fierce…I didn’t quit.
I AM flawless…those things I hate about myself are beautiful to the one who created me.
I AM worthy….my abilities may not be like everyone else’s but they are just as strong.
New friends are sometimes the best of friends when you are feeling down.
So I started the day feeling pretty beat up and defeated, I finished the day feeling beat up and absolutely wonderful. I accomplished something huge, made new friends, learned more about myself, and most importantly…..
Not just in the fact I didn’t die, but I chose to get out and live my dream instead of sitting at home and watching life pass me by. It ain’t always done pretty, but I CAN promise you I will get it done!