A few weeks back, my friend Jenny and I went on a hike to this place called “Jump Creek.” I had no idea what we were getting ourselves into, I just knew that I had the morning off and I wanted to go adventuring. So we did. We drove about an hour and a half out of town in her little Volkswagen bug and arrived at our destination. We hiked short trek to arrive at this gorgeous waterfall. But to our dismay, it was extremely crowded, and we couldn’t enjoy the serenity that this gorgeous location had to offer.
We ventured down a different trail and arrived at the base of a large wall of rocks that led to the top of the waterfall. It had about a 6 foot wide platform in the middle of it where you could stand before you proceeded the rest of the way up this wall. We successfully climbed up halfway. However, when we went to conquer the second part of this wall, it was not as easy as the first portion was. It was steep, narrow, and had very few good hand holds to pull ourselves up with. After trying several times and becoming frustrated with each failed attempt to get up this wall, we concluded that we would turn around and find a different way to get to the top of this waterfall.
We were about to turn around when a family of five individuals came up behind us and thwarted our plan. We entered into a subtle diaglouge with the father of this family, and it changed the trajectory of the rest of this day.
“You going up or down?”
“Down.” We replied.
“May I ask you a question…”
“Why? Don’t you want to see what is at the top? You’ve already made it so far, why turn around now?”
My friend Jenny and I looked at one another, shrugged our shoulders with hesitation, and agreed with his statement and decided to climb on. With new courage in our spirits, we began to move forward and climb–knowing that if we were to lose our grip, we had an entire family behind us that could spot and catch us if we fell. We conquered this great wall, made it to the top and sat on a rock where the water steeply dropped off. We looked down at the bottom of the waterfall and smiled as all of the people down there looked up at us wondering how we did it.
After spending some time at the top of the waterfall, we decided to keep moving forward in our trek. As we moved back towards the trail, we ran into this family again. They invited us along for their hike, and we decided to join.
“Do you know what poison ivy looks like?” The father asked us.
My eyes grew wide, my heart raced, and I stuttered, “There’s poison ivy here?”
“Oh yeah! It’s that stuff right there.”
He pointed to a plant and I nearly began hyperventilating as I realized that I had been climbing through it for quite some time now. He could tell by the look on my face that I was freaked out, so he reassured me, “Oh you’ll be fine! Just take a good shower when you get home!” With reluctancy, I nodded and continued hiking.
Hyperaware of poison ivy, I was quite skittish for a good portion of the hike, trying my best to avoid this gastly plant. Jenny, following behind me, exclaimed, “Amie! Don’t be afraid of it!” Instantly, I came to the realization of how much this fear was hindering my ability to enjoy the day. A few moments later, I tuned in to a lesson the mother of this family was giving to her son, “See, look…you just kick it out of the way and step on it!” She said, as she fiercely stomped this large piece of poison ivy out of her path. I followed in her leading, and from that point on the rest of the day I stomped on every bit of poison ivy that came my way. That thing that once had power over me, quickly became something to put underneath my feet.
We came to a fork in the trail, and Jenny and I decided to exit the path and head back. As we started up our new road, we turned back and said, “Thank you…” as we waited for them to fill in their names. “Jenkins family!” They replied. “Thank you, Jenkins family!” we said. “Remember, it’s all an adventured. Have fun…and don’t forget to look up!” Mr. Jenkins shouted as we parted ways. Jenny and I proceeded through the rest of our hike in amazement as we pondered everything that this day had taught us. (Oh, and I didn’t end up getting a poison ivy rash or anything either!)
If you didn’t catch on to the moral of the story that this day taught me, I will go ahead and explain all that I learned from this sequence of events:
1. Don’t turn around when you are on your way. Don’t let resistance keep you from your goals and dreams. Keep climbing, you’ve already come so far.
2. When fears come across your path, they only have power over you when you live in a mentality that agrees with the fallacy that your fear is stronger than you are. But that false mentality is crushed as soon as you come to the realization that you have the ability and authority in Jesus to put fear underneath your feet and stomp on it.
3. Remember, its all an adventure. And don’t forget to look up.
“Yes, because God’s your refuge, the High God your very own home, evil can’t get close to you harm can’t get through the door. He ordered his angels to guard you wherever you go. If you stumble, they’ll catch you; their job is to keep you from falling. You’ll walk unarmed among lions and snakes, and kick young lions and serpents from the path.” Psalm 91: 9-10 [MSG]