As a kid, each year my Dad and I would go hiking. We’d leave early in the morning, hike all that day, camp over night, then finish the journey the next day.
One time we decided to take a different track to normal. It was longer and more difficult. Most of the journey, or at least it felt this way, was up hill.
On the map, the hill didn’t look that bad. In reality it seemed like Mount Everest. Step by step it became harder to persevere. Eventually though, with a lot of encouragement from my Dad, we made it to the top.
Arriving at the top of the mountain was invigorating.
We spent a few minutes enjoying the scenery, congratulating ourselves, and catching our breath. Then we started navigating our descent.
I thought the journey down the mountain would be easy. In some ways it was. It didn’t take the same physical effort as the trip up, but it did require concentration. Going down was slippery and steep, and gravity made it difficult not to lost control and descend too fast.
A couple of times the journey got away from me and I ran into some tree’s. It hurt. If I’d been alone I’m sure I would have injured myself badly and I probably wouldn’t have been able to finish the journey.
Eventually we both made it to the bottom safely. On the whole we stayed on track and made the descent mostly unharmed. It was only because of our extra concentration and our care for each other that we finally arrived at our destination.
Navigating the descent.
Life is like those hiking trips. There’s always serious effort in the climb, and the mountain top is always spectacular. Most of us are so focused on getting to the top, to that pinnacle experience, no matter what it is, that we neglect the journey after that.
The descent is often over-looked.
We don’t realise it, but it’s the journey down the mountain, after you’re spent from the climb and then exhilarated from the peak, that requires some real attention.
I know a lot of people who’ve experienced mountain tops in life. For some, they’ve let the success, the mountain top, become their life’s focus and they’ve lost track of where Christ would have them focus their attention. The mountain top, which is now in their past becomes their life. Instead of looking ahead and minding their steps, they end up walking backwards down the mountain. Their eyes are on what’s been and not what God has for them up ahead. This causes them to trip up on issues and experiences that other wise they would have stepped over without a second thought.
We’ve all had mountain top experiences. It’s in how we navigate the journey after the mountain top that will determine whether we make it to our destination safe and sound or not.
Navigating the descent, the journey after the mountain top is important. It doesn’t matter what the mountain top is, it may be a promotion, a wedding, a heart changing sermon, an incredible worship time where God truly moves, or some other life defining moment.
Like my hiking trips, we need to make sure we have people in our lives to help us along the way. Friends and family to take the journey with, to help remind us that our focus and attention should always be on Christ. After the mountain top, we need to stay on track, we need to pace ourselves and not let the gravity of life take us places we didn’t want to end up, whether that’s physically, emotionally, or spiritually.
Most of all, we need to descend the mountain facing in the right direction, grateful for the mountain top, but looking to the amazing future that God has for us. We need to be ready and determined for the next climb that He would have us make, gathering our strength, hope and enthusiasm for all He will bring our way.
Over to you…
How do you navigate the descents of life after a mountain top? Add your comments in the section below.