The journey of life is like a mountain range, peaks and valleys, ups and downs, soaring waves and crashing tides. The peaks are warm, all sunshine and heavenly views. But the valleys. Oh, the valleys. They are cold and lonely, and the peaks look impossible from the ground.
Somewhere along the way, I started searching for shortcuts.I want to live on the peaks all the time. I’m looking for some secret way, some mystical portal that takes me from peak to peak, like a zip line or a love potion. I want to avoid the valleys. At all costs, I want to avoid them.
Even my faith, at times in my life, has been an attempt at a shortcut. I thought that following God, really believing and trusting in Him, would allow me the avoidance of valleys.
To be honest, it’s gotten to where I can hardly enjoy the peaks I am on, because I am constantly looking for the next one, desperately scanning the terrain in a panic. It’s stealing my peaks, this search for a shortcut. It’s been stealing my valleys for far longer.
In a world of quick-fixes, instant gratification, and rabid individualism, I have swallowed the lie that shortcuts are possible and that they are the secret to life.
But that same world is a world of divorce, depression, extreme loneliness, mask-wearing, and rabid dissatisfaction.
What if there are no shortcuts? What if the long way is The Way? What if our journey is not about avoidance, but about perseverance?
The truth, which I hate to admit, is that I learn so much in the valleys. So much. I learn dependence on God (and others, the need for unity). I learn the astonishing truth of how high the peaks are and what it takes to get there.
I’ve got to abandon the cult of shortcuts. I spend so much of my time trying to figure out how to weasel out of my day, how to coast through my challenging responsibilities with as little risk as possible. I’ve got to learn how to fail. How to learn. I’ve got to move from an obsession with the mirage of shortcuts and truly BE in my life, living it boldly, fully.
The wonderful truth, even if it does not feel wonderful, is that God is there along the entirety of the journey. On the peaks, He’s the artist, showing off the beauty of His Creation. There is no choice but to be awestruck. It takes us beyond ourselves to see the God of the cosmos. In the valley, He’s the potter, molding the clay, the sculptor chiseling a masterpiece. It takes us inside ourselves to discover the Spirit within, shaping us into His vessel with a refining fire.
The ‘peaks’ and ‘valleys’ are really about my mood, at the end of the day. I am searching for shortcuts in favor of my temperament, at the expense of truth and beauty and growth.
The hard things aren’t killing me, they are teaching me how to live. It’s about time I embrace them