“The Lord God is my strength (my source of courage, my invincible army); He has made my feet (steady and sure) like hinds’ feet and makes me walk (forward with spiritual confidence) on my high places (of challenge and responsibility).”
Habakkuk 3:19, AMP
Today was one of those days…you know the ones where you wake up and immediately start climbing that mountain in front of you. And that mountain has alllll kinds of ‘overlooks of comparison’ and the overgrown patch of ‘not yet completed’ which taunts you that you will never make it to the top? I have to admit those days have hit me more than normal recently. I have begun completely new endeavors in my career and I’m at that stage where I feel like I don’t have a complete grasp on any of it. Like God has called me to do something, but the mountain in between it and me seems, well… impossible.
I feel like it is so much easier to look outside of myself and encourage the process of others, but when it comes to my own journey, I want perfection…now. I want to have it all figured out…now. I want to be at the top of the mountain…now. So as I post this…know that I am in no way assuming the role of having “landed at the top.” I am reading this to myself as much as I am to anyone out there listening.
A few years ago I was running up Runyun Canyon, a local hot spot for just about anyone in LA who likes to hike or be outdoors. On one side of the mountain, there is a steady incline all the way to the top. You know… no little plateaus to catch your breath. And this particular day I was strug-gal-ing. Every inch of my body was screaming for me to stop. My lungs burned, my legs were on fire, I had cramps on both sides, and I was so mad at myself. Yep. Mad. I looked at my watch and I was appalled at the time I was clocking…. it was way slower than normal. “This is pathetic! Why am I even doing this? Get it together!” I ran a little further trying to pick up the pace but my body protested. To add insult to my struggle, another runner breezed by me.
The negative insults I hurled at myself only added to the weight I was lugging. Suddenly in the quiet of my spirit I heard;
Let it be hard
That most certainly was not my thought. That voice was gentle, still, quiet, and confident. Nothing like the way I was talking to myself.
… Let it be hard.
Huh? But it shouldn’t be! I should be able to do this, and here’s why-
Let. It. Be. Hard.
This simple yet profound thought held so much wisdom, I had to stop. Why was it that I was so consumed with eliminating the struggle? It wasn’t because I was afraid of the work out, I was doing it…I was just consumed with the idea that the journey was not what I expected. Today was harder than normal. Today felt impossible. Today was just plain…hard. So why not just let it be….?
In that moment, a giant weight of expectation rose off my back. It was hard. I was doing it. And that’s all that mattered. Putting one burning leg in front of the other.
And you know what happened? I got to the top. I struggled, but I got there. There was nothing particularly epic about the run or the peak, I never went any faster that day, in fact I’m pretty sure I was sore the next day. But I do, incidentally remember that particular run over all the others because I learned a great lesson that day…
Stop judging the journey and let it be hard
Let me be clear. I didn’t say “just enjoy the journey.” While I believe that our “Etsy coffee mug motto” has its place, I have also come to realize that there are a lot of parts of the journey that are just plain difficult and are totally different from what we expected.
It sounds so simple…but have you ever been there? You have a dream, a goal, something God has told you to do, something you know in your bones is the right thing…..and it is SO HARD? To the point where you question whether the very fact that it is that hard is evidence enough to stop and turn around because maybe you just aren’t cut out for it?? Your perfectionist spirit bellows at you, “If you were really supposed to do this, it would be a way ‘easier/faster/more graceful/more put together journey?! The way it is for her/him!’”
In fact, that little voice in our head might cause us to stop moving forward all together. But here is the victory we have in our Sovereign God. His word tells us that He is our strength and that because He is, we can WALK, not stand, but Walk through our high places (Habakkuk 3:16).
and just to clarify….high places, those are a given. It’s not “if you have high places” but when you have high places.
I don’t think God ever calls us to something without putting an obstacle in the way of us getting there. Why? Because if we easily got to the top, would we have the strength to keep the ground we took? We serve a God whose infinite knowledge of our own capacity realizes that we need some muscle on us. Not to operate in our own strength, but to increase our faith to rest in His. In those times. When it is hard. Let it be. And trust that it is Him who will bring you to the top, no matter how hard it is.