Lessons from Hiking

While out of town this week (see Monday’s post), I went on a hike with some friends.  To be honest, hiking isn’t exactly my forte–I’m much more of an indoors type of girl! 🙂 

These particular trails that we were hiking on were really muddy.  I had decided to wear a white shirt to try and keep cool in the heat of the weather, and several people that we were hiking with commented their surprise over me wearing white when going out into the woods.  They claimed it wasn’t practical, didn’t make sense, and would easily get dirty.  Along the way, there were various options of trails to get to the same desired destination–the base of a waterfall (although honestly it was more like a watertrickle than a waterfall).

The path my friends ended up taking was a much more crooked and winding path, with many obstacles in the way.  Another couple and I decided against going the same way as everyone else and ended up finding a quiet, pleasant path.  This path had large mud puddles and narrowed to less than a foot across at some points, but it was peaceful.  As we walked along that path, we approached a very large mud puddle–longer across than I was tall and wide enough to take up the entire width of the trail.  There was a log on the side of the path that for some reason I thought I would be able to walk on to get across the puddle without getting muddy.  I borrowed a hiking stick from another hiker, planted it firmly in the mud, and used it to hoist myself up onto the log.  After a few steps, what I had seen as a fairly stable thing for me to walk on rolled out from underneath my feet and dumped me into the mud.  I had chosen the wrong foundation to walk on, and it crumbled beneath me.

When I got up, the people I was hiking with commented their surprise at the lack of mud I had gotten on me.  Now, that’s not to say there wasn’t any mud on me, but the mud that got on me brushed off easily, and my white shirt remained unsoiled.

The following day as I was sitting in silence, I reflected back on the hike.  There was a lot about it that struck me as odd, but as I sat meditating on the previous day’s events, a lightbulb went off in my head, and it made a spiritual parallel.

We are all travelers on this hike called life.  Some times are easier and smoother travels than others.  Sometimes the path is flat and even, and sometimes there are boulders in the way.  Sometimes it’s a dry season and sometimes there’s mud.  Sometimes our friends go one way and we feel called another direction.  As for me and anyone else who has repented from their sins and begun a relationship with Christ, we are clothed in white.  Being clothed in white in the midst of a dirty and chaotic world can bring criticism and scorn sometimes.  It can seem impossible to remain clean and pure.  To the world, believing in God can seem crazy, different, and nonsensical.  At the end of all of our paths, we will stand before the judgement seat of God; that is our common destination.  Beyond that, for those of us who are believers in Christ, we will spend forever in heaven, but for those who do not believe, their choice of path in life will take them to a much less pleasant outcome!

Along the way, we make little choices.  These choices of what to stand on–fear, worry, doubt, anxiety–may seem like the only option in the moment, but ultimately they turn out to be unsteady foundations to walk on.  When they ultimately cause us to fall, God is right there to give us a helping hand back up onto our feet.  He brushes the dirt off of us and makes us clean again.

I know for me personally, I was beating myself up mentally for indulging in anxiety, fear, uncertainty, and worry, like I talked about last Monday.   I berated myself for my lack of faith and just continued to beat myself up until I felt so worthless and dirty–as if I was covered in mud.  In reality, the whole entire time, God saw my struggles and whispered tenderly to me that even when I fall and get back up, He makes me white as snow.  Even when I tell myself I am filthy, God sees me as His righteous child.  It is up to me whether I choose to walk in white, in the purity that Christ bought for me on the cross. Walking in that white is not a guarantee that you won’t still feel the heat of the pressures of this world, because you will–but as any child raised in the South knows, wearing white will soak up the least amount of heat from your surroundings!

So like I was saying earlier, when I fell, the mud that was on my white shirt brushed off easily.  Do you know the only part of me that got and stayed muddy? My shoes.  I could so clearing sense God saying to me that even though I chose to try and stand on the unsteadiness of anxiety and fell, He cleaned me and clothed me in white, and the only thing that had gotten some dirt on it were my shoes of peace.  I see you as clean, He seemed to be telling me, but take care that your peace isn’t muddied up by the cares of this world.

Also, be sure to check out my Instagram for pictures from my hike!

*After posting this, I realized another parallel aspect from the hike: although I was quickly made clean again after getting mud on me, marks of my fall remained on my body: cuts, bruises, and sore muscles. This pain didn’t go away immediately when I was made clean. No, these remained as reminders to me of my fall, and encouraged me not to put my trust in shaky foundations again! Similarly, my wrong choices can have temporary or lasting consequences that hurt me and/or those around me. Those consequences can still take effect even if the actions that caused them are forgiven. *

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I'm a writer who publishes my thoughts on the life I'm living, literature I'm reading, and God I'm serving. Psalm 27:4 One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.

3 thoughts on “Lessons from Hiking

  1. Love it, Callie. I’m doing a 2-week blog series on joining my husband’s adventurous spirit with tomorrow part 2 about camping. So I understand the “stretch” sometimes to do things outdoors or being a bit uncomfortable. The analogy you make to the hike, the log, the mud, the white shirt, is such a good spiritual lesson. And this is powerful, “Being clothed in white in the midst of a dirty and chaotic world can bring criticism and scorn sometimes. It can seem impossible to remain clean and pure.” Thanks for a beautiful post.

    Liked by 1 person

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