You may have heard it said, "The journey of a thounsand miles begins with one step." The principle remains the same, regardless of the length of the trip. Every adventure begins with a single step.
This Chinese proverb came alive recently as my husband and I celebrated our birthdays by hiking Mt Leconte! It was one of our most challenging hikes -(13.1 miles - 37,950 steps, an elevation gain of over 3,000 feet, and a few cliff sides) - But oh so rewarding - The views were breathing-taking!
I want to share a few life lessons I learned from the hike that are good reminders no matter where you are in life's journey.
Life Lesson 1 - Take the first step.
We knew this hike would be challenging, so we took the first step by putting it on the calendar. This simple principle helped us move toward the goal of accomplishing the climb. The first step for me is always the hardest. However, after I begin, the second step is a little easier. Then the following ones become routine, and you will move into a rhythm. You may have difficulty in the journey, but often with each movement toward success, your confidence grows.
Sweet friend, what is your dream? Perhaps, you do not wish to hike, but you want to try a new recipe, start reading a new book, implement something unique at your job, or share your testimony with a loved one. Identify what you want to accomplish and take the first step. Maybe, like me, it will be simply putting it on the calendar.
Life Lesson - 2 - Repeat your steps.
Trust the process of repeated steps. Continue to take the next step, even if your journey has challenging climbs, and then repeat. The first step has the power to get you started. Repeated efforts have the ability to carry you to the finish line. Steady measures will move you to the top. Just take the next step.
This is true for life's journey, not just a weekend hike. Every step is a move closer to victory. Every effort will move you closer to success.
Remember the power of repeated steps in your daily life. They will get you to the top. This is true in your diet, exercise, goals at work, kindness to the unpleasant neighbor, prayers for your child, and study habits for school. Take the first step and hit the repeat button. One secret for me in moving forward is to control my thoughts and attitude. To stay positive, I look for the beauty around me. I thank the Lord for His creation. Otherwise, I may talk myself out of the next step. It is hard to travel uphill if your attitude is traveling downhill.
It is hard to travel uphill if your attitude is traveling downhill.
Friend, what is your goal to move toward? What is the thing that feels impossible to change? What do you want to overcome when you feel overwhelmed? Keep taking steps in the right direction. Soon you will be running with a power you never knew was possible.
Keep taking steps in the right direction. Soon you will be running with a power you never knew was possible.
Life Lesson 3 - Pause your steps (for rest).
Now and then, you must pause your steps to rest and renew in life's journey. Soak in the beauty around you. Catch your breath. Breath deep. Learn to enjoy the trip by recognizing and seeing God's blessings and beauty along the way.
Rest was necessary for our hike. We paused at Alum Cave. We ate an energy bar as we soaked in the sights. It was breathtaking and gave us anticipation for the view at the top of the climb.
We also paused our steps at the Mt Le Conte Cabins about a mile from the peak The cabins were full; however, there was an "outhouse," which I desperately needed, and a tiny gift store. (Fun fact - there is no road to the top, so lamas bring supplies, 3 days a week, for the cabins and gift store.)
The bottom line is to pause in the journey of life to recognize the blessings around you. Savor your Savior's gifts. Identify the many benefits around you. List them and thank God for them. Rest and renew so that you can continue on.
Life Lesson 4- Take the scary steps.
Sometimes in life, you will face moments when you need to take a scary step. It may be a decision you are afraid to venture into at work, school, or even in a relationship. Fear may try to paralyze you. However, the risky steps can be the most rewarding. You and I will never reach the goal if we allow the scary steps to stop us. Move into the next phase. Don't live paralyzed by your fear.
What scary step do you feel God is challenging and encouraging you to take? Trust Him and move forward.
Life Lesson 5 - Celebrate your steps!
I believe every accomplishment should be celebrated! Enjoy your victories. Celebrate and celebrate big! Thank the Lord for giving you the strength necessary to accomplish great things. He has made you and me for big and bold victories. This is true for life and valid for the triumph of climbing a mountain.
Terry and I had a celebratory meal soon after our climb. What about you? What can you rejoice over? Do you celebrate life's victories - no matter the size of the accomplishment?
School break? Celebrate!
Someone's birthday? Celebrate!
Task completed? Celebrate!
A hike accomplished? Celebrate!
A wayward child has returned to the faith? Celebrate and celebrate BIG!
Life is too short not to enjoy the journey. Celebrate as often as you can. Celebrate the large and small accomplishments of life.
As Terry and I reached the top, we celebrated the victory. We paused to soak in the beauty. Here is the breathing view we saw at Mt LeConte at the top of Myrtles Point. There was a 360-degree view for miles. In case you have not hiked it - check it out
We also celebrated at the end of the hike! Our feet were tired, our knees were sore, and my legs felt like jello. But we did it! For us, a simple meal of pizza and cookies in the room was a perfect way to celebrate.
As we are on this journey of life together, remember that the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. I encourage you to take the first step toward your goal, repeat your steps, pause your steps, take the scary steps, and celebrate your steps! As you do, I believe you will go far in life!
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6