Several times in the last ten years, I have been faced with either dealing with pain, or ignoring it. I must be part ostrich, because I am a PRO at the latter. I would tell myself things, like:
‘I feel better today, so I must BE better. Phew!’
‘I’ll focus on something else and let God handle it.’
‘God didn’t mean for this to happen to me, so I’ll just wait for him to fix it.’
Before God forced me into actually confronting my pain, I knew what a literal desert and wilderness were, but not figurative ones. The real places are often described as harsh, untamed, deadly – but I’ve spent time in both and I know the beauty and life and wonders that can be found there. And, yes, danger. The fact is, any time you step outside your door, ignoring the realities of your surroundings could kill you. A figurative wilderness or desert is no different.
When I see problems, I want to fix them, but, when I go outside I don’t want to change the wild. I respect it’s power – stand in awe of it. I want to be prepared for whatever it could send my way. If I can do that with creation, why not the Creator? It’s time I approached life and my journey with Christ the same way I would any landscape that I have yet to explore.
Study a map. Trust your guide and what you have learned from the experiences of others. Give priority to the essentials. Limit distractions. Don’t give up.
‘It’s always further than it looks. It’s always taller than it looks. It’s always harder than it looks.’ ~The three rules of mountaineering
I spent most of my life trying to tame it. Right now, if I’m honest, I fear it. But life isn’t meant to be tamed or feared. I’m on a journey of learning to put one foot in front of the other and finding joy and hope and peace and gratitude in each step, regardless of the terrain.