Monday, August 24, 2009

When The Mountain Calls You Out of the Valley



For the past few mornings I have gone down to one of my favorite trails along the river to walk the dog. While driving to the trail head, there is a point where I crest a large hill and I can see the Cascade Mountains looming majestically in front of me. While they looked close enough to reach out and touch, there are several miles of hills and valleys between me and the mountains. And as my gaze was drawn to the incredible early morning sight, I felt an intense longing to continue driving past the trail head and on into the mountains.

If you’ve ever been up to the high points of a mountain, you know that the view can be breathtaking. From atop the mountains here, for miles in either direction, one can see small towns, lakes, rivers, forest, winding roads, other mountains and even a dry, flat desert out to the east. The air is crisp and clear, the sun seems a little brighter and having the perspective of seeing clearly all around is itself a sense of comfort and peace.

It is definitely a much different point of view than that of being down in the valley.

In the valley the view is much more restrictive, or constrictive if you will and there are many more shadows to block the light.

I think life is a lot like mountains and valleys and from what I have observed both on and off the blogs there are a lot of people stuck in the valley or stranded on the side of the mountain, not quite able to reach the top.

I have walked through many valleys in my life and honestly, the valleys are not where I like to be. My valleys have been ones of fear, darkness, depression, financial struggles and loneliness. There have been times in the valleys where I have trudged along paths of uncertainty with no way out in sight. I have felt the incredible weight of life on my shoulders and the loneliness of being far removed from God. I have looked from the valley floor, up at the mountain that I must climb and cursed it for being so big. I have at moments, resigned myself to the fate of being in the darkness of the valley and been consumed by feelings of hopelessness.

I know many are in that very place and unsure of how to make their way out of the valley and up to the mountain top. I believe the first step is willing yourself to go. Sometimes the dark, as fearful and depressing as it is, is more comfortable than the unknown of the journey into the light. And while it was never promised that our journey through life would be painless or easy, God did promise that we can find rest from our burdens in Him. (Matthew 11:28-29)

I have also found, in my own experience that the moment I quit telling God how big my mountains are and instead tell the mountains how big my God is, the valleys don't seem so deep and dark. It's when I take the focus off of me and where I am (read: quit throwing myself a pity party) and decide to work on getting to where I need to be by putting one foot in front of the other I'm allowing God to be in control of the journey. This is extremely hard for a control-freak like me, but it seems my life is much messier when I take control and stick God in the back seat.

I believe God allows each of us to walk through the valleys so that we can learn to trust Him as we make our way up the mountain paths. And I don't know where you are in your journey of life, or what valleys you're in, or the trials you face but I do know that you are not alone. I have my own valley at this point in my life that I am trying to climb out of. Honestly, it is a valley that appears to have no end in sight, and I don't know the exact path I will be taking to get out of it, but I do know from my past experiences that I will put one foot in front of the other and allow the mountain to call me out of the valley.

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If you are suffering or feeling alone in whatever struggle you are facing, please know that there are many who are willing to listen to you and help you through whatever it is you are facing. Feel free to email me even if you just need someone to listen.

13 comments:

Beth said...

"...the moment I quit telling God how big my mountains are and instead tell the mountains how big my God is, the valleys don't seem so deep and dark."

Thanks for that reminder this morning, Annie! I needed it!

Candace Jean July 16 said...

This is beautiful, Annie. You took the words right out of my heart. More and more I see how crowded those mountains and valleys are with God's children. We need to help each other up and out. I think I need a trip to mountains - the real ones - and yours are beautiful. The corn fields just aren't doing it for me!

sherri said...

This was beautiful, and words- so true.

The valley is where the refreshing water is. We are not left there to die of thirst. Just to refuel for the next climb upwards.

Annie K said...

Beth, youbetcha.

Candy, you're welcome anytime!

Sherri, I think the valley is where we really have to listen for God...

katdish said...

Incredible post, my friend. And much needed. Thank you.

Steph @Red Clay Diaries said...

Fabulous.

I agree that the valley is where we have to listen to God. It's why I suspect I'll always deal with depression. It reminds me of my NEED for him.

And Sherri - I loved this: The valley is where the refreshing water is. We are not left there to die of thirst. Just to refuel for the next climb upwards.

Amen.

Amrita said...

Oh this makes me long for the Himalays,I lived up in the mountains for 4 years.
I miss them so much.

Thank you Annie for being willing to lend a listening ear.

Rebecca on The Homefront said...

The valley is where the refreshing water is. We are not left there to die of thirst. Just to refuel for the next climb upwards.

I love that thought, Sherri.

Annie, I'm sorry to hear that you're having to hike your way through and out of a long valley. I hope that along the way you find some refreshing water to keep you going. Thanks for a beautiful and meaningful post.

HisFireFly said...

The mountain tops are all that much sweeter because of our time in the valleys!

I love your thought expressed that the mountain calls us out..

I'm so glad I stopped by.

Doug Spurling said...

"...the moment I quit telling God how big my mountains are and instead tell the mountains how big my God is, the valleys don't seem so deep and dark."

I once heard a mountain man explain how he never got lost. "I look from the mountain top to where I need to go, and then, I never change direction in the valley."

Great post thank you

FaithBarista Bonnie said...

"I have at moments, resigned myself to the fate of being in the darkness of the valley and been consumed by feelings of hopelessness."

It is VERY scary there. I know it, having been in it for more than a few days. It feels empty and all alone.

I don't know why God allows us to go through days like that, but you are right, He is found trustworthy through it all. And He will get us through it. Again and again.

Those days do come. But, now, we have friends like Annie, who can call it like it is!

~*Michelle*~ said...

Oh I love this post...I think this is my favorite part:

"Sometimes the dark, as fearful and depressing as it is, is more comfortable than the unknown of the journey into the light. And while it was never promised that our journey through life would be painless or easy, God did promise that we can find rest from our burdens in Him."

How comforting is THAT!?!?

I recently wrote about how valleys don't always have to be viewed as dark times as I always referenced them to be...I know it seems silly but as I was writing that post, God spoke to my heart and turned the whole message around....it was wild! Anyway, the post is titled Geography 101 if you feel like popping over in my world.

peace~
*~Michell~*

Helen said...

My valley is being fearful of trying to do what I am called to do because I am afraid of failure....I am afraid the roadblocks I have faced are from God, and that He really isn't calling me...But God doesn't want me to sit in a corner and do nothing...well anyways, just thought I'd share what I have in common with this post...