“Six days later, Jesus took Peter, James, and John with him and led them high up on a hill-side where they were entirely alone.” Mark 9:2
Life is a hike, isn’t it? The picture above is from the family hike at Young Life’s Trail West Lodge. Certainly there were a few spots where we were huffing and puffing…. maybe even asking, “How much farther?” We eventually made it to the top – where smiles and high-fives were visible everywhere. The hike was worth it!
We have “hikes’ all the time in life. Hikes are “a walk for a long distance, especially across the country or in the woods.” The phrase that means the most to me is “long distance.” Each of us are being asked to accomplish a “hike” or doing something for a long distance. Here are a few I thought of this morning…
- Raising kids — it’s a long distance between birth and 22. It’s a hike.
- Projects at work — sometimes projects we are working on just take time, process, and teamwork.
- Relationships — this is something our family is learning right now big time. Making relationships that are more long term and sustainable are a “hike.” It takes time logged and distance traveled.
- Health — processing different health issues is a “hike.” It’s trips to the doctor, it’s changing pattens, and sometimes it is just being a sleuth. Be your own detective!
- Dashed Hopes — many people I know are dealing with pain, tragedy, and loss. Making it back up to the water’s surface for air sometimes is a hike. Don’t give up… the view is worth it, but sometimes it takes extra effort to get there.
- Finally, the calendar — Do you ever look at your calendar and say – “We just did this!” Or, realize that what you thought was just last year was actually 2-3 years ago! We are hiking across days, months, years, and even decades!
So, given all the hikes above — what would be some hiking tips? Well, funny you should ask! Here are the Hiking Survival Tips 101! There are only FIVE! Here goes:
- Before you start, admit: Hikes are painful. You can pack the water, sunscreen, and a granola bar all you want. Hikes are still going to be painful. If you at least start off with this in your mind, hike will be much more enjoyable. Raising kids… if you know from the start that you are going to the ER, they will break something valuable, a team will not be made, they will be left out, and they are very much like YOU WERE. It helps the hike!
- Prepare! We went on a hike as a family on the 4th of July. As we were heading up there were a variety of hikers. One particular guy agitated me as he passed me. He had a walking stick, a back pack, and a large sun protective hat. I remember thinking to myself – “Why does he have all this, it’s a short hike!” You know, by the time we got to the car I thought to myself, “I am going to be more prepared next time.” What “hikes” are you being asked to lead? Are you as prepared as you can be?
- Enjoy the view along the way! Many hikes are to destinations. The peak, the sign, the waterfall, and the like. One of the things that makes a hike more fun, and takes some of the pain away is to stop and enjoy the views along the way. This can be celebrating… this can be enjoying the team, company, family, along the way. Even in the times of “dashed hopes” there can be a way to stop and enjoy the view. Recently, with our move, we have had to stop and see what God is doing along the way. It’s easy to see how hard the hike is, or what we have left behind. One good thing to do is to stop and see the view we do have — enjoy it — it helps the remainder of the hike ahead.
- Encourage fellow hikers within your ear shot! Encourage, encourage, and encourage. Everyone is on a hike! (You just don’t always know what their hike is.) “Way to go!” “Keep going!” People want to hear encouragement. I recently passed on a very little piece of encouragement to a woman at work. It was something I heard someone else say about her, so I told her. She stopped me, grabbed my forearm, and said, “You have made my day!” People can make hikes when other life hikers around them are shouting encouragements!
- Celebrate at the Top! You made it! Take the photo of the completed project, the kids at the final game, the marked out calendar, the new friendship God has given you… whatever it is, celebrate the moment at the top. You will have more hikes coming… this is what life does. It keeps coming at us for sure. The more hikes you have completed gives you encouragement about the upcoming hikes that you will face.
Happy hiking! Love to hear from you about what God is doing in your life!