There have been lots of times I hiked on paths just way too hard for my level of conditioning. I don't know why I do it, but somehow I think I will make it. About a third of a way to the destination my body begins to tell me I bit off more than I can chew and in a short while it begs for me to just turn back! When we find ourselves on a path that is hard, maybe even what we might come to recognize as 'too hard' for us, what do we do? Turn back? Rest a while and go on? Creep forward at a snail's pace because we won't be fazed by the torture of moving forward? If you are like me, you rest a bit, then press on. You might find you need frequent rests along the way, but eventually you make it to the destination. Worn out, aching from the exertion, maybe even with a few blisters to show the 'torture' of the climb - but you made it. Making it isn't the main thing - it is probably more important we are on the right journey!
Your words are a flashlight to light the path ahead of me and keep me from stumbling. (Psalm 119:105)
The path we choose is often a result of our mindset at the moment. As a novice hiker, I didn't realize you could actually research the 'degree' of difficulty of a trail. In fact, most marked trails have a trailhead that describes the degree of difficulty so you don't bite off more than you can chew! Ignore the signs and you may find yourself on a path that just isn't all the easy, or all that worthwhile! You won't enjoy the climb if it is much more than you are ready to handle! In fact, you could even be endangering yourself by being on the climb in the first place. I am not ready to climb Kilimanjaro, so to undertake that venture would be more than dangerous! I learned a simple lesson about trails - it is a way of calculating the climb. An easy trail is usually less than three miles, pretty flat, and usually able to be traversed without much change in elevation. A moderate trail is a lot harder, not only because it somewhere between three to five miles in length, but there are inclines and climbs requiring some agility and exertion. A moderately strenuous trail is just about above my level of conditioning, though. The terrain involves a steep climb or two, strenuous at best, and is labeled quite clearly as NOT suitable for those that are unconditioned to the climb.
Wouldn't it be nice if all our 'climbs' in life could be as clearly labeled for us? If we have a journey we are being asked to take and could consider the 'condition' of our soul and spirit ahead of time, would that journey make us take more time to prepare before we set out on it? Maybe! Would we be as quick to launch out with our unconditioned or "Under-Conditioned" souls? Probably not! We'd want a little 'conditioning' before we launched forward. Wouldn't it be much better to be 'always ready' for the climb ahead - regardless of the degree of hardness? I am not there yet - how about you? Until that time, I will allow God's Word to continue to condition my soul and spirit - climbing those trails he prepares for me and trusting him to show me how best to prepare for the next one that will likely be just a little more challenging. That is all we can really do, my friends. Prepare, be ready, and then be 'in tune' with the path we are about to travel. Don't be afraid to ask our 'trail guide' to point us along those trails for which we are best suited to climb - challenging us a little, but clearly not beyond our degree of readiness! Just sayin!