“I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy–I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it.” – Art Williams
Late last evening, I returned home from a relaxing few days in Sevierville, Tennessee. Lauren invited me to be a part of her family vacation, and the break happened at a much needed time. A cabin in the woods, a beautiful view of the Great Smoky Mountains while enjoying a few tasty beverages was exactly what the doctor ordered.
On Monday, we took an adventure toward Abrams Falls as part of the Cades Cove Loop in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Now, I do not have much experience as a hiker, but I do enjoy the outdoors. As we began to embark on the trail, the sign to greet us read: “Abrams Falls <– 2.5".
Monday was quite warm and humid, but we took to the trail anyway. As we made our way through the trail, we passed some people and saw others struggling to make it. At times, we were even struggling ourselves to go up and down the mountain in the hot sun. I know that I kicked enough protruding rocks as I went through that I am lucky my toes were not broken or bleeding.
As we got closer, we encountered numerous people who were beginning to make the trek back. As we crossed paths with these people, many would smile, offer words of encouragement, or even better, let us know how cold and refreshing the water would be once we got there.
As we made the final turn, the waterfall emerged. It was an absolutely amazing sight. We got closer, snapped a few photos, waded our feet in the water, and even skipped a few rocks. We then began the long and arduous journey of returning to our vehicle with the hopes of retrieving the ice cold waters that awaited us in the cooler.
I did not know it at the time, but that hike served as an incredible metaphor for how life treats us sometimes. On my five-hour drive home last night, I listened to a little bit of an audio book by Mark Batterson titled In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day A portion of the book really allowed me to reflect on the hike and come to the following realizations.
Life is not always easy. We are faced with complications and hurdles. The sun may be bearing down on us. We may not feel like we are up to the task. Obstacles like protruding rocks may be placed before us. We may kick them and stumble a few times.
It is oftentimes easier to turn around and run back to the safety of our own comfort zone. It is easy to give up and just admit that this tough time got the better of us today. It is easy to say that we just do not have what it takes.
But, what I do know is that through our toughest moments come some of our greatest rewards. For me, that reward on Monday was getting to experience a beautiful waterfall after the 2.5 mile hike in. That amazing gift from nature was such a powerful reward for the struggle to get there.
We all have struggles. We all have moments of weakness where we think it may be too difficult to make it. But, if we have the courage to face those fears and those challenges, we will continue to put one foot in front of the other. We will be able to hike any of those 2.5 miles in our life, and be met with our greatest rewards.
Stop running from your fears. Stop running from your struggles. The only way we will conquer our fears and our struggles is to move through them. If we continue to run from them, they will be right there waiting for us when we come back to tell us that we are unable to do it once again.
Face your fears. Keep moving through the sun. The prize on the other side is too great to ignore. Just watch out for the rocks.
Bring your best today!