Thursday, November 03, 2011


For the longest time, whenever I imagined the spiritual metaphor of climbing a mountain, I always pictured someone headed straight up the steep side. But it was pointed out to me a few years ago that no one ever climbs a mountain that way. I can't even climb the little hill across the street that way! Whether you're driving or hiking or however you intend to ascend, if it's steep at all, you always have to use switchbacks. Sometimes they're circles around and around the mountain, slowly rising. Othertimes it's just back and forth, back and forth, gradually up one side.

This makes me feel a little better when I think about how many times in life I have felt like I'm going in circles. I've been here before; I've learned this lesson in the past, just apparently not well enough. Here we are again, the same struggles over and over and over... But the reality is, it's not *quite* the same lesson I learned before. My elevation is a little bit higher; I'm a little bit closer to the summit--just following the switchback, coming to the same spot at a slightly higher level.

I so often feel discouraged when I think about how long I have failed in the same ways, how many times I have been defeated by the same sins. I look over the last four years of motherhood especially and feel like I haven't changed at all--my heart is still just as ugly as it was revealed to be at the very beginning of this journey.

But a few experiences just in the last few weeks have encouraged me: I *have* grown. If I take the long view, oh so much has changed. I am not the same person I was in middle school or high school. God has done SO much work in me even since college. The climb is slow and arduous, more sideways than vertical. I stumble and lose ground, yes. But I'm fighting to trust that we are indeed climbing. And the God who launched me on this journey and walks beside me has promised that we will, without a doubt, reach the top one day.

[edited repost from the archives]

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