Struggling against oppressive heat and humidity on my morning walk a few days ago, the forecast high a blistering 105 degrees, I recorded my efforts to move and breathe. One of the most natural human responses when we find ourselves in a pit is to dig a little deeper. So I did.
If Satan has a theme song, this is when the music rises in the background like “Jaws.” Danger is hidden, but it’s near, and it knows where you are.
Thinking about my commitments for the day, some outside in the heat, a cloud of defeat rolled over me. Even at 7:00 AM, dictating was difficult because I kept running out of air.
“I’m walking and wow, I’m so flat this morning. I don’t even have my full breath—“
Listening to the recording I heard, “I’m going (breath), I don’t have any energy right now to do it. Just keep taking the steps. Oswald Chambers says that we can’t live forever on the mountain tops—mountain goats live there. People don’t live there, but we go up the hills and down the hills. We live in a series of mountain tops and valleys. And the only way you get to the top of the mountain is to climb. Sometimes you have to pull yourself.”
You know how dry and difficult the valleys are because you’ve been to the top of the mountain. On the peak your spirit soars with exhilaration, you have eagle vision, and you stand closer to God than you ever dreamed possible.
After basking in a place many people never experience, you begin walking again. And where do you end up? Back in the valley.
“Well I’m in the valley. I look up and know that I’ve been on that mountaintop. I know what it’s like and I want to be there again, but I’m not on the mountain today. And the only way to get there is to climb. But first, I have to get to the foot of the mountain.”
Satan’s Theme Song
“I’m tolerably comfortable here in the valley. I can get by in the valley—why don’t I just stay in the valley?”
This is where we get hacked. The voice in our head speaks with tones masquerading as humility and reason, “Oh, well, maybe I set my sights too high, thinking more of myself than I should. Maybe I didn’t hear the Lord right. Maybe He didn’t truly mean…”
Cue the music.
“Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said..?”—Genesis 3:1
Listening to my playback, I hear the riff I ran not only for myself, but for others who may listen if I shared the recording:
Maybe I'm not good enough. Maybe I'm not young enough. Maybe I'm not smart enough. Maybe God didn't make the best choice when He pulled my name out of the hat for this job.
Regret in the Valley
That isn’t God’s voice. It’s the wily serpent, trying to convince me that God didn’t say what I know that He did. When God asks, He equips, no matter our human limitations.
Whenever you stand up to fight, Satan’s flips the switch that plays his music. Jesus rewards perseverance, not the serpent.
When you have a word from God, you know what you heard. It’s a real mountain top moment, but back in the valley our natures remind us how much we hate feeling foolish. We’re often tempted to quit, retiring rather than risk failure.
But if you quit in the valley, that’s where you’ll stay. You’ll gaze at the mountains around you knowing what it looks like at the top, remembering what it feels like and what awaits those who risk the climb. You’ll know it could have been yours and that you walked away.
I imagine that’s a glimpse of what Adam and Eve felt when they looked back at the barred gate to Eden. But God didn’t abandon or leave them without hope.
Vision in the Valley
God offers His vision for you, not the perspective of the valley, but a view from the peaks, from the height of the Throne.
One of the things I love about the Bible is how real even the greatest men were. I thought about Moses and Elijah—not about the monumental things they did, but their worst moments when they wailed, “Why me? I’m not good enough. I’m done. I’m alone.”
Thinking of them, my playback continued, “God, do you know what you’re doing? Do you know what you’re asking me to do. I can’t do this, pick somebody better”—or even a little thought few dare say aloud, “Do it yourself, Lord.”
Thy Kingdom Come
“Well friend, God is doing it Himself, but He’s doing it through you and through me. This is how His kingdom comes to Earth and the way His will is done on earth as it is in heaven.
It’s done through you. Now, why am I recording this, why am I thinking of sharing this? Because it’s a step for me—an upward step on the first slope of the next mountain. That mountain has a top and I’ll get there. But the only way is to put one foot in front of the other. So, that’s what I’m doing.”
For Such a Time as This
You are the only one God created for this time, for this place, and for what He has for you going forward. Don’t quit in the valley. And if you’re currently on top of the mountain, reading this thinking, “I don’t know what you’re talking about because it’s all good here.”
Remember, that on the other side of today’s mountain is another valley.
Your journey is one step at a time. No matter if today’s stretch is up, down, or flat, just keep walking, knowing that the end of the journey is Eternity with Christ.
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Another related post: The Poison of Comparing Yourself
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Wonderful encouragement–thank you Lynn. Good advice for life in general–but especially with horses. I’m finding the need for perseverance, patience, and risking failure–so often tempted instead to “retire” rather than accept the risk and give it my best. My horses don’t just help me to do better, they help me to find my best. Thanks again for the timely words.
Liz, I’ve started sharing real messages because I know I’m not the only capable, committed, and called child of God who has moments in the valley. We all do. Sharing openly and honestly, but with the full faith and confidence that God has an inexhaustible number of mountain tops for us to explore, is as close as some of us will get to clasping hands and sharing our strength. What we must keep front of mind is how quickly He lifts us from the depths to the heights. Keep going. Every step produces richer gold. The bigger the vision, the more the enemy wants us to quit in the valley. You are blessed!
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