Climbing Your Mountain to See Life from a Different Perspective
This term in our assemblies we have considered a life of outdoor adventure with Jesus. We have explored stories of Jesus picnicking with the 5000, walking on water with no need for skis, barbecuing on the beach with his fisherman friends and his love of climbing mountains to gain new perspective.
In our last assembly of the term we heard the Story of Jesus’ ascent of the mountain and his transfiguration found in Luke 9.28–36. We considered how like, the disciples, the benefit of a climb and the view from the top you gain a new perspective.
Life is full of challenges. Some appear easily attainable. Others appear to be an unassailable mountain and the thought of them instead of encouraging us to take a step forward root us to the spot in fear and dread separating us from where we really want to be.
The mountain you face may come in many different forms. It may be a battle with ill-health, an academic or sporting challenge, person to confront, a performance to give, a task to complete, a request for help, an apology to make, a relationship to mend, a temptation to avoid. It would be tempting to take the easy way round, avoiding the challenge and the effort of overcoming it. Perhaps if I do nothing the situation will just go away.
However, there may be an opportunity wasted by taking the easy way. Many find that in overcoming an obstacle, they gained a whole new perspective on things.
When we tackle a challenge head on, life changes for us. We find out something about ourselves: our determination, our courage, and our resilience. We may learn something about others in the response they give to our words and actions.
Perhaps we can apply it to our lives maybe there is a subject we find difficult a sport or musical instrument we want to try, we fear exams, or we struggle with reading and getting our ideas down on paper. Questions such as what if I fail? come to mind, or What if I can’t do this? Or What if it doesn’t turn out as I hoped?
So what if you do?
Trying something and not succeeding…how does that compare to not even trying in the first place? Signing out of life before it’s begun, writing yourself off before you have even started frustrates me so much. It saddens me when the immediate phrase that is spoken is “I can’t” as it makes me want to ask “have you tried?” Yes is the response, what’s meant is I spent a minute – it was hard – so I gave up. A few summers ago I climbed Ben Nevis. Not particularly noteworthy as mountains go, but it is the highest mountain we’ve got in the British Isles. The start is always the most difficult of any accent as your heart rate rises so it feels like your heart is going to explode out through your ears, your knees start screaming – you haven’t got a hope of making it to the top! But you get over the first boulder-filled rocky steps and settle in to a rhythm and you start to make progress you pause and you’re pleasantly surprised at how far you come and how small the van looks in the car park from up here. We plod on, then comes the next wave – it’s getting steeper, my hips and lower back have joined in with the gentle screams of my knees and a decision has to be made carry on or give up. So you look forward to just the next corner or twist in the path you aim for that made it. What’s the next goal? That rock up there perhaps? Then with final effort plodding over the snow-capped edge you reach the top WOW!! What a view, pause drink it in and eat the sandwich we made, proving my own doubts wrong; elation, excitement, sense of achievement. Are my knees still screaming? Yes. Does my back hurt? Yes. Did I want to give up along the way? Yes!
By reaching the summit of a mountain we gain a new perspective that we’d never have experienced by staying safe on the easy and familiar low ground. Mountain climbing is worth trying. Jesus said he came to give us life and life to the full and my prayer for you all is that you will experience that, that you will step beyond the fear of failure beyond what you think you are or are not entitled to and embrace life and all that it has to offer. Make it happen. Only you can make that choice. Choose to start, knowing that there is always someone walking alongside you. On their mountain top Peter, James and John gained a new appreciation of who Jesus was and how he saw his mission in life. Perhaps if you will only try you will see your life from a new perspective and learn something new about yourself.
“It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.” Sir Edmund Hillary
Thank you for the challenges we are faced with. May we see them not as obstacles but as opportunities to see things from a different perspective. May we have the determination and the hope to take up the challenge and then to enjoy the transformed view.