I stumbled upon the story below as I was browsing through my journal. It was the first thing I wrote, although I never published it here. I think of it as my demo tape.
From my journal, August 12, 2013:
A man sets out to climb the highest mountain and spends tireless hours rising to its summit.
Reaching, striving, falling, climbing.
His journey covers him in experience; he’s bloody, bruised, and exhausted. Yet, he continues to strive for the summit.
As he reaches the peak, he breathes deeply and looks around him to survey the mountain he has climbed. The scenery is beautiful and his feeling of satisfaction settles in as he seems to have achieved his goal. Exhaustion has disappeared and has been replaced with a sense of accomplishment.
However, as he surveys, in the distance he sees another mountain rising higher than where he now stands.
Could this be?
He rubs his eyes and peers again only to confirm what he knows.
He is faced with a decision.
Enjoy his peak.
Climb another mountain.
Not letting what is very good keep him from what is great, he will begin his descent into the valley as his adventure continues.
For he’s heard, in the valley is where greatness resides.
Character. Strength. Perseverance. Hope.
Yes, these reside throughout the valley.
His passion to climb isn’t fueled by greed, but by purpose. He has been created for it.
If he is still here, if he is still breathing, he has yet to achieve his purpose.
Thus, he confidently begins his new journey.
Do not let what is very good keep you from what is great.
When I started writing, I had no clue what I was going to write about. For the longest time, I felt hesitant to say what was on my heart from fear of judgement. On the other side, I felt arrogant to say anything; like I had any answers at all.
Since then, it has been a remarkable adventure. I am beyond grateful as it has forever changed who I am and constantly shapes who I am becoming.
The journey has been filled with questions searching for answers. Wanting to quit, yet feeling unable to. Not seeing in whole, but only in part and taking one small step at a time. I’ve come to realize those are necessary parts of every great journey.
So, I ask you.
What good things in your life are keeping you from experiencing greatness?
Are there valleys you are hesitant to descend into?
My simple encouragement as you reflect on these questions rests with one small act. It is there where you will begin to find answers. That action is taking the first step. Without your action, nothing happens.
The book you’ve always wanted to write, the hobby you’ve always wanted to learn, the phone call you’ve been afraid to make, the letter you’ve been hesitant to pen, the family vacation you’ve put off, the job that you’ve wanted for years.
There is a journey waiting for you, but you have to take that first step.
As I reflect on my own journey, here’s the greatest encouragement I can give you. The most amazing part will be the people. I know this because of you, the person on the other side of this screen taking time to read. I’ve learned that my energy and encouragement come from people. The new friends I’ve met have been wonderful and they continue to teach me. Their stories and their wisdom constantly shape and challenge my thoughts. The same will be true for you.
Thanks for being awesome and allowing us to enjoy this journey together.
May the Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face to you and give you peace.
CHALLENGE: Don’t let the valley keep you from enjoying the climb.