Why is it that people love the New Year holiday? Is it because we get to dress up? Be with the people we enjoy the most? Perhaps, we have joyfully said farewell to all the hardships of the previous year? To start anew? Or maybe we are excited for the new hope of what is ahead and that THIS year is finally going to be “my year?”
For me, 2016 was a strangely stable year. I say strangely, because God shook up a lot, yet He kept me still. He really brought a lot of emotional turmoil to surface so I could face all of the things I had stuffed from the previous years.
I can definitely say this has been a year of blessings too. I accomplished so many things because of God: I landed a job that I in no way could have ever gotten without Him. I celebrated my 1 year wedding anniversary, then got the opportunity to be put in position to lead the marriage ministry over our entire church (with my amazing husband of course). I got a new car (my old one died). We put our home up for sale, and so much more. But what most don’t realize is that with a mountain of blessings comes a lot of climbing complications. As I felt God pulling me up my mountain, I also felt Him pulling out my injuries I had learned to live with. Behind the scenes, there was a lot I had to fight and battle every step of the way. The only way I can explain this to you is by painting a picture in your mind.
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This year, I began to hike the side of a very victorious mountain God intended for my life. Every step of the way, God showed me how He was going to bring me higher; but as I climbed, every injury I ever had started to flare up and scream its ugly face of pain at me. I would stumble, I would fall, I’d even collapse in exhaustion and pain; but He would give me shelter (not just in the form of His Word, but in the form of relationships). He would not just heal me through it so I could move to the next step, but show me how He did it and I could not re-injury myself in that area.
Little did I know, that He had cast a vision for me and as I climbed, that vision became mine. As I climbed, I’d face some old grizzly’s that had once left me laying lifeless on the floor, only to fight and face them head on. God used 2016 to reveal Satan’s deepest darkest attacks and tactics he had been using on my life and shown a light so bright, that even I sometimes couldn’t even sustain the truth. He would let me rest, He would heal me and then have me keep climbing.
This was a year of character building and sustaining for me. God gave me the mountain to climb; to experience the views and victories all along the way. He shared with me my deepest lacks of spiritual endurance and areas where I lacked faith. He opened my eyes to the very real spiritual battle ever happening around us.
As I continued to climb my once painful injuries where now fully healing. I no longer crawled from place to place; from season to season; but ran, leapt, and at times even skipped. Yes, I’d fall off the side, from a previous injury. Yes, I had pity parties as I laid in the mud and rain, but He’d remind me of my future. I’d remember that God needed me to feel those tears, breaks, and dislocations. He needed me to stop stuffing them, and to stop learning to walk with a limp; with an injury and face them. To stop giving up and keep going.
I’ll be honest, I’m still climbing this mountain and some of you are entering into a season very much like mine was last year. Where God wants to get you get to a point of fleshly numbness and spiritual sensitivity. Where you just keep moving forward, because you know the view only gets better. You will trip and remember that you once broke your ankle. It may even swell or sprain, but God will teach you how to nurse it and let it heal properly, so you can build it stronger and never visit that same injury again.
Some of you are coming out of your climbing season into a season of planting and sitting on top of where you are. To enjoy, grow, develop, and rest. You might even be staying there because you unknowingly are waiting for others to join you in your walk. Maybe you’re coming out of that and now your eyes are set on the mountain next to you. The next step for your call; and it’s time to start stepping down to rebuild your strength to conquer the next mountain in your range of life.
Whatever this new year is calling out to you, now is the time to start climbing your mountains. Not to let your past injuries keep you from the hike ahead or let 2016’s lessons disappear into a faint whisper of the past. Choose today to start climbing your mountains, keep hiking and push yourself into a new level of spiritual growth and awareness.