Saturday, February 25, 2012

Lessons Learned While Hiking, I still have a long way to climb...

I'm taking a break from what I have been writing. I just got back from an anniversary get away with my husband. We went hiking at Clifty Falls State Park. I had a lot of thoughts on our hikes and for better or for worse I will share a few of them.

We wanted to hike to the bottom of the cliff and hike along the creek bottom. First of all I just want to say, I don't like heights and I don't like water, but I do like my husband so down the cliff to the creek we went. A second thing you should know is that I've spent the last two months at home either being sick or taking care of sick children. On top of sitting around for the last two months, I'm not in very good physical condition to begin with. It was difficult for me to hike to the bottom, I was scared a few times and my legs ached, but I made it down with hand from my husband. Once at the bottom I couldn't help but remember other trips with an abusive boyfriend. I remembered being yelled at for fear and hesitation, being ridiculed for not being fast enough. I was sitting at the bottom of a cliff in a creek surrounded by God's beautiful creation, in one of the most relaxing situations I could wish for, with the kindest man God ever created, and I remember all these bad things. I realized that years later abusive words still hurt. Time doesn't heal all wounds, God can, but time doesn't. I hadn't really given all that hurt to Him, I left it to time.

My husband wanted to cross the creek using a rope to hang on to. That combined two of my biggest fears, water and falling. I became extremely stubborn at this point. I even crossed my arms and told him he could go on, but I was staying right there. Well, after a little bit of feeling bad I at least tried, I made it half way across, found it difficult and turned back, causing my husband to turn back as well. There are so many things I can take from that alone. How many times a day do I let fear hold me back from doing something, in this case I missed out on a chance to see the waterfalls from the creek, what do I miss out on in my day to day life? In this case I caused the man I love most to miss out on something he really wanted to do, how many times do I cause others to miss out on something because of my fear or stubbornness? And the biggest question I ask myself is, if I would have had water proof boots or an easier time getting across, would I still have stubbornly gone back because it was the easiest way?

These thoughts bothered me the whole way back up the cliff, I cried and I was mad, mad at my husband for thinking I could even try to do this, mad at myself for being scared, mad at myself for being weak, mad at myself for being so stubborn, selfish, and non-submissive. It occurred to me that our oldest daughter's strong willed behavior could very well be my fault after all. God healed a lot of my anger on the way up that cliff. He soothed a lot of guilt and shame. He used my husband's kind words to "let it go, it's okay," to ease the hurt and humiliation, and to remind me that I am no longer in an abusive relationship, unless I count the relationship I sometimes have with myself.

After that hike there were several other hikes. I found myself in another unhealthy thought pattern. Instead of focusing on the time spent with my husband, or the absolutely gorgeous scenery, I was thinking about how many calories I was burning.  And when we stopped to take pictures I thought about how fat I looked. In one of my previous posts I wrote about how I still struggle with those thoughts, they do not take a vacation. It is really hard to battle those thoughts when you are trying to relax and enjoy yourself. I want to come to a place in my life that I am fine with how I look all the time. I want to be healthy, yes, but being thin does not equal healthy, especially for me. I know that God can help me to gain victory over the thoughts just like He helped me have victory over the actions of my eating disorder. I just need to actually give up those thoughts to Him every time they come instead of holding on to them, and why would I want to hold on to them...

So, the lessons learned. Obviously, He is still working on me, and will be for the rest of this life. I can choose to give Him my baggage and hurts, my anger and pain, and He can give me victory. I just need to get over my stubbornness. I've taken the first step up the cliff, and if I let Him, He will carry me the rest of the way, and that sounds better than doing it myself, my legs still hurt.

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