Tonight I feel like I am being challenged.
Challenged, in a good way, to *do* something.
To take a step, to move beyond what is comfortable and safe and to trust I will be taken care of.
I feel like I felt two days ago after a hike; on the edge of a precipice, peeking over, too scared to get close.
I don’t know what I am supposed to *do* but I will take each small step as they come, one foot in front of another, accepting the challenges God places in front of me and trusting Him daily.
I accepted a challenge on Friday by going on a hike up Mt. Tzouhalem.
So *do* it, you say.
It’s not that I can’t, it’s that I’ve felt *stuck* for so long that my brain tells me I can’t and my body doesn’t even let me get out the door.
So finally, I said to myself, “Enough! I want to go on a hike, so I am going to try!”
I joined up with a hiking group that I’ve wanted to tag along with for a while, conned a friend into going with me, and we set out.
The day was perfect – cloudy, not hot, and the green smell of the forest just oozed new life!
We started out and the path wasn’t too steep, no problem!
Then we hit the steep zig-zagging path uphill.
After a short stint of watching my feet step over roots and find a steady foothold on the slippery slope, every step uphill was a challenge.
Every intake of breathe came deep and heavy.
A stitch began burning in my side that felt like a knife twisting and turning.
Every single step was a challenge.
I tried to mentally trick myself into believing that I didn’t have to stop, I could keep going, it wasn’t far, just around that bend, a little more…
Suddenly my body had had enough and *it* stopped me.
I needed to breathe, I needed to rest, I needed a moment to let the blood pumping so angrily through my chest and head slow down just a little.
I saw my friend up ahead. She had stopped and waited for me.
I felt embarrassed, ashamed, as I let children and older people in our group pass me on the slope.
I barely managed to call out to her, “Go on ahead. I’ll catch up.”
I did not want anyone to feel like they *had* to wait for me.
But something happened in that moment. She smiled and called back, “No way. I’m waiting for you. We’ll go together.”
I could have cried.
I took a breath and forced my feet to move.
One step…two steps…a little more and I’ll catch up to her.
We were at the back of the pack but it didn’t matter. I was going to make it.
Yes, I was very out of shape and it may have taken me longer than almost all of the group that hiked that day, but I kept going.
I was way far out of my comfort zone and every single step was a challenge, but I was *doing* it.
We stopped several times as the larger group we were with paused to go over the events of Good Friday, the Passover, the traditions of a Jewish Seder meal and the importance of what happened to Christ on the Cross. Those stops and breaks came just at the perfect times for me.
My legs were wobbly, my breathing was probably louder than the man speaking but I didn’t care. I had made it! I hadn’t given up!
And then, that first moment when we came out of the forest clearing, walking out onto the rocks overlooking Cowichan Bay…my heart sang! What wondrous beauty spread out before me!
We crested the rocks and at this summit someone in the past had anchored a large white cross to the cliff. There we stood or sat and took Communion together, remembering that Christ died for us, taking ours sins onto Himself and becoming the sacrifice we could never repay.
There on that cliff, beneath that white cross, I knew I had to *do* something.
My life had become way too soft and comfortable.
The next day, I still felt a little off, a little strange.
I felt good, great even, for going on the hike and feeling braver than I had in some time.
But that wasn’t enough.
I needed to *do* something more.
Just a few hours ago I happened to click on a friend’s blog all about missions and their travels and experiences over the past few years, trusting God, giving back, teaching, caring for others. The written words, the testimonies, the struggles, they all broke my heart.
I need to DO something more.
I don’t know yet what is coming. I don’t know what is going to put in front of me, but I can see a few things I can do in the meantime. I know of ways I can make changes or plan to head towards, those I will keep to myself for now.
I am being challenged and it’s time to toughen up.
I’ve always prayed for God’s Will to be done in my life, for Him to direct and to guide me, for His Will to just *happen* to me.
“Yes, *I* will step out into Your Will.
*I* will accept the challenges ahead and *I* will force myself to keep going because You are right there in front of me, showing me that You will never give me something *I* cannot handle with Your help. *I* will DO whatever You ask.”