It was either climb or die!
Sitting in the chapel of a rehab center I faced what seemed like climbing my own Mt. Everest. I had lost my home, my car, my dignity, and the crushing blow of knowing that I had temporarily lost all custody rights to my youngest child. The mountain in front of me towered over me in all consuming fear. There was no way I could climb the treacherous path that lie before me. I was broken. I had no where else to turn. But my choice was as gripping as the darkness that had a hold on me. It was either climb or die!
From an early age I had been raised in church. I knew of faith and of God. I had only called upon Him as an adult when in trouble. That plea always had a condition. God if you rescue me then I will live right. This time though, there was no condition. I called upon my faith and asked for my ultimate rescue. Instantly, I was aware that there was something greater inside me than the mountain that lie before me. Overcoming my obstacles would begin with the faith that I could. That there was a light at the summit. I just had to believe that I could make it there.
Work, Effort, and Consistency
The first step out of the darkness was faith. Mark 11:23 says, “I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain. May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea. It will happen if you really believe and have no doubt in your heart.”. My climb now could begin. I would come to learn that faith went hand in hand with action. So the next steps in my climb would be work, effort, and consistency. Those would be the tools I would need to successfully ascend my personal Everest and reach the summit.
Was I ready to make the climb? Almost, I was missing an important key to any successful expedition. I now needed DIRECTION. To overcome an obstacle the gargantuan size of Everest it could not be just any direction. It must be sound, experienced, qualified direction. If we are to reach the summit we must acquire help. Parents guide their children. Teachers guide their students. Coaches direct their players. Pastors disciple their congregations. Sponsors or counselors guide in recovery. These relationships rely on proper guidance in achieving mastery. Any experienced climber will tell you they do not climb alone. They seek out a guide. Mark Goodson wrote on this in his blog post, Be A Sherpa.
Together we can overcome anything
When I am teaching about South Asia and its physical geography, Mt. Everest is one of the main features. I take a portion of this lesson to talk about overcoming obstacles. I discuss with my students that we all face obstacles. To each one, his or her obstacle seems like Mt. Everest. We never know the Everest the person sitting ahead of us, behind us, or next to us is facing. We must learn to be aware and show compassion. If it is an Everest we have already scaled then it is up to us to provide direction. I share a small piece of my climbing adventure so they can see that it is real. That I am too, just like them. Believing that we can comes first. Then consistently working with effort daily they realize together we can overcome anything.
Going it alone is perilous
We all face obstacles that seem insurmountable. Are you climbing your own Mt. Everest? My Everest was the complete destruction of my life in addiction. Yours will be unique to you. None the less, these obstacles can bury us or they can bless us. It is not just in recovery that these steps to overcoming bring victory. It is every area of life that provides us obstacles. It could be a student in the classroom, terrified to read. A marriage on the brink of collapse. Deep despair in financial and emotional bankruptcy. Abuse of all kinds. Dealing with death or suicide. No matter the Everest you face, you can overcome. Going it alone is perilous. Most often it leads to death and destruction. Take direction. Get a guide or mentor. They have ascended to the summit and returned and can give us the footholds to climb and crevices to avoid.
We all face mountains. Some of us may face mountain ranges. For me it was to climb or die! I am successfully ascending to the summit. A peak where the light overcomes all of my darkness. Whatever you are facing. No matter how tall your Everest. You can overcome. All you have to do is believe you can. Faith, Work, Effort and Consistency are your tools. Then to reach the peak