Stuck at the Bottom of a Mountain

This guest post comes from DWITW Team Member, Sami Hudgins. Sami shares encouragement for those of us stuck in the cycle of striving and achieving. She asks us to ponder what are longing for apart from Christ, whether those longings have eternal value, and how Jesus fulfills all our longings like nothing else can.

Photo May 29, 1 17 39 PM.jpg

Step after step, the sweat drips down my arms and falls onto the revolving machine.  The stair climber is torturous, but I find some reward in pushing through the pain.  After my time is up, I push “stop” and look up at the mirror wall.  In that moment, I ask, “Where have you gone?” My mind immediately kicks into gear: “...Well, I burned some extra calories and perhaps earned myself an extra ounce of endurance…” But the Lord stops me there before I can go on. Again: “Where have you gone?” This time, my heart screams, “Nowhere. I have gone nowhere. I have accumulated hours on this machine, taken thousands of steps, and still, I have gone nowhere."

We do this so often in life: we strive to reach our next big goal; we work to achieve the next standard.  We exert all of our energy to climb these mountains. We work for days, weeks, or even years, only to find ourselves stuck in the very place we began.  This is the image that God gave me so clearly: I was stuck at the bottom of a mountain, exhausted.  I had given all that I had left in me with no reward or victory.  The energy I gave was wasted. The time I spent was unused.  And, really, I had nothing to show for it.

Hear my cry, O God; Give heed to my prayer. From the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is faint; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
— Psalm 61:1-2

With this sitting heavy on my heart, he whispered ever-so-gently into my ear, “Take my hand, I will lead you higher. Follow me to places you could never imagine. Don’t come back here to climb anymore.”

Do you find yourself climbing? Trying to move up the ladder at work? Trying to accomplish your next fitness goal?  Trying to earn enough money to move up in status? Trying to be affirmed in your group of friends?  Trying to win the ‘mom of the year’ award in your neighborhood? Serving to exhaustion so others will see you as a top-notch member of your church? The list is endless. The world gives us an infinite catalogue of titles, achievements, and goals to strive for. 

It is the work of the Lord that gives us everlasting joy. 

We can work all of our lives for the fleeting feeling of success. We may even have some papers that assert our “job well done” hanging on our walls or accomplishments worth writing home about. But do awards, a bigger bank account, a better body, or a fuller schedule fulfill your soul? I can assure you that the delight of these things will last only a short while.  It is the work of the Lord that gives us everlasting joy. The heart of the true believer desires nothing more than to see Him glorified. So, as it says in 1 Corinthians, may we do all for the glory of God!

It is His work alone that will lead us to victory, for His victory is already won!

Ponder this: where is your time spent? Where does your faith lie? Is it in the to-do list or the calorie-count? In the job title or the social status? No! Our faith is in the Lord Jesus Christ, who will lift us up to the top of the mountain by His divine power. It is His work alone that will lead us to victory, for His victory is already won!

He doesn’t promise that the climb with Him will be easy.  We will endure suffering along the way. But take comfort in knowing that our suffering is shared with Christ.  He has already climbed these mountains, and promises to be by our side the whole way.

For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving an example, so that you might follow in his steps.
— 1 Peter 2:21 (ESV)

We must not return to the stair-stepper machines that hold us in place by means of exhaustion.  Of course, this is not a call to quit exercising specifically. This is a call to listen to the Lord earnestly about His will for your time.  What is he asking you to courageously walk away from? Allow him to lead you on His path, up to the summit with Him, where you can declare His glory.

Lord lead us higher so that we may shout your name from the top of the mountain to all of the Earth!

Samantha "Sami" Hudgins serves as the Event Coordinator for Dayton Women in the Word. She is an Air Force wife and fur-baby-mama to Charlie. Her heart longs for women to join together to seek and find truth in God's Word.