Gain Ground Today

One Step at a Time

Well, I just returned from my five day Sierra backpacking trip. I’m happy to report that I am home safe, sound, and just a little sore! My twenty five mile trek through the John Muir Wilderness in the Eastern Sierra mountains was everything and more than I imagined it would be. The scenery in this area of our country is like no other. I couldn’t help but praise God over and over for His incredible creation, and thank Him for the opportunity to experience it firsthand. If you’ve created a “Bucket List” for yourself, spending time in these mountains should certainly make that list!
(If you would like more information on my trip, or on the area in general, shoot me an e-mail and I’ll be happy to fill you in.)

I took so many experiences and lessons away from my trip. In the coming weeks, I plan to share many of those with you. As for today, I will share the most valuable reminder that I took away from my trip of a principle that we all know, but just might not always believe. The principle of, “just take one step at a time”.

Going into my trip, I knew that it wasn’t going to be easy. I knew that although I had spent months planning, preparing, and conditioning, that there would still be obstacles that I would have to face. Well, my prediction came true only three miles into a nine mile walk on Day 1. As my buddy and I were beginning to tackle the most difficult stretch of our hike, which was an insane climb of one thousand feet elevation up the side of a mountain, we were hit out of the blue by an unexpected Sierra storm. Within a matter of minutes, the skies turned from a deep blue, to a dark grey, to hard rain, to hail, and finally a freezing sleet. Although this type of weather isn’t terribly uncommon for the Sierras in late September, it could not have come at a worse time for us. We found ourselves on the side of a mountain without any tree cover or shelter. To put it bluntly, we were hosed! We took a few minutes to cover our packs, put on a light jacket, and then we had no choice but to continue heading up the mountain. (This was NOT the most enjoyable part of my trip!)

After about only twenty minutes, the storm had passed and the skies turned blue again. Unfortunately, the damage was done. My buddy and I were soaked and exhausted from our trek up the wet mountain side. Since we were racing against time to get to our camp before dark, we had no choice but to push on as quickly as possible. We managed to handle most of the remaining hike without too much issue, but as we neared the final two miles to our destination, we were both hit with exhaustion like a ton of bricks. The residue from the earlier storm, the high altitude, and the plain fatigue from our hike all combined to make this a very difficult and dangerous situation for us.

I found myself at a point of physical and mental exhaustion that I had truly never experienced before. We were still climbing in elevation and I was at the point where I could literally only take one step at a time, and each of those steps was a labor. But, I knew that I had no choice but to continue making those single steps. I also knew that in theory, if I continued to take enough of those single steps, all heading in the same direction, that I would eventually make it to my destination. Well, I am very happy to report that I did take enough of those single steps, and I did finally make it to my destination! This in itself truly felt like one of the greatest achievements of my life.

So, here’s the reinforcement of the principle that I’ve always known, but that I hadn’t given a good test in a long time. “If you continue to take one small step at a time, heading in the right direction, YOU WILL MAKE IT!” Your trail may not be leading you to a campsite like mine was, but you do have your own trails and goals that you are trying to conquer. Whether you are fighting your way through earning a college degree as a single mom, or whether you are trying to climb out of a mountain of debt, or whether you are fighting your own self limitations, you can and will get to your finish line if you just continue to take one step at a time!

Do you have a difficult trail to walk up right now? Have you told yourself that you have no choice but to move forward, regardless of your pace? Are you moving forward? Do you believe that if you just take one step at a time, you WILL get there?

I’m here to tell you that if you do take only one step at a time, heading in the right direction, you WILL reach your destination. I did, and you will too!

One Step at a Time

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