We just returned from a great time with our California kids. Without a doubt, the highlight was time spent oohing and ahhing over our precious new little grandson. Of course he’s nearly perfect, smart, cute…. I learned that this grandma thing is pretty fun.
These kids are in-shape, avid hikers. We know that spending time with them will include some sort of physically stretching experience, usually involving a mountain. I assumed that because they now have a baby to factor into their plans, I could believe that our hike would be easy and mostly flat. I guess my definition of flat and theirs is not the same! At one point my heart felt like it was going to pound right out of my chest, I was dripping sweat and my bad knee was badder than ever. I wanted to quit. I had already seen a beautiful forest and lots of wild flowers. I could have been satisfied with that, but my kids’ promise of a spectacular view motivated me to ignore everything my body was telling me and just keep on going (well—and I didn’t want to act so “grandma-ish”). And spectacular it was! As I came around that last bend and looked out over more mountains, more forests and valleys all against the backdrop of a totally blue sky, I knew every ache I was going to feel the next day would be worth it. It was breath taking, and I almost missed it. What a mistake that would have been.
Isn’t that just the way it is with our spiritual growth? Sometimes it’s tough and it’s tempting to give in and settle for what we’re already experiencing. We don’t want to do some of the more painful disciplines God is suggesting, or we don’t want to correct some of the not-so-helpful behaviors that are a part of our lives. We don’t want to do what it takes to begin the healing process in a broken relationship. We don’t want to give up things that have become so important in our consumeristic lifestyles or give up some of our me-time.
What did I learn on vacation? If I had quit climbing that mountain, I would have missed an awe-inspiring view of God’s wonderful creation. I don’t want to quit on my spiritual formation, either. There are times when it seems really tough and too difficult to keep-on-keeping-on, but I don’t want to miss out on the adventure of being shaped more and more into the image of Christ. I’m glad I have a small group to encourage me to persevere. Together, we’ll enjoy the view