Confession 438: Of Mountaintops and Restoration

I will strengthen the weary, and renew those who are weak. Jeremiah 31:25 (CEB)

IMG_3348“I will lift up my eyes to the mountains. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of Heaven and Earth.” These are the words I quoted to my boys on our first morning in Breckenridge, Colorado. They politely ignored me and continued building a complicated structure of dominoes and Jenga blocks along the floor of our condo.

Basking in the glow of the mountains, I shrugged and walked to the porch with my Bible in hand, completing the Psalm silently as I gazed at the snow-capped peak in the distance.

I’ve always loved mountains. I find their firm presence comforting–a sign of quiet assurance, strength, and changelessness in a world that is often chaotic and unpredictable. When I was in college, I spent a summer working as a camp counselor in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Each night, as I closed my eyes to sleep, I felt secure knowing that I was enclosed on all sides by mighty rocks that had been there for millennia.

A few weeks ago, my husband, two boys, and I took a road trip to the Colorado Rockies. We stayed in beautiful Breckenridge, but took day trips to the Royal Gorge, Garden of the Gods, and Pike’s Peak. Before we left on our trip, I was a mess. Lots of deadlines meant long hours of writing. I was sleep-deprived, my muscles were tight, and my emotions were all over the place. My anxiety issues kicked into overdrive. I went to bed each night feeling worried and awoke each morning feeling dread. I was in deep need of some restoration.

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As we started our ascent into the mountains, I began to feel my anxiety falling away. I looked around at the great beauty of God’s wondrous creation. There was the vibrant cornflower blue sky contrasted with the deep green of the fir trees. There were the subtle shadows of puffy gray-white clouds falling over the mountains. There were even foam-topped mountain streams plunging down steep slopes as the snow continued to melt high above the tree line. It was glorious.

Peace came to me in the mountains like a soft breeze that cuts through the heat on an oppressive summer day. For the first time in a long time, I stopped doing and allowed myself to just be. I stood on a mountaintop and felt exultant, even though I was gasping for breath and covered in sweat. I listened to the wind blowing across the peaks, swelling  in a wonderful crescendo of timeless chords through the trees and falling still once more. I spent twenty minutes staring at an ugly goat, enthralled that it could thrive so far above the tree line where there are only craggy rocks and shrubs. And I gazed down at a world remarkably small thousands of feet below.

In those mountaintop moments, standing on rocks that were present long before humanity and that will remain when humanity is gone, God reminded me of my own insignificance. While it sounds strange, there is something greatly restorative in that knowledge. When you stand atop the mountain that was born millions of years ago, you understand that while the world focuses on this moment, God focuses on the eternal. There are processes and plans in place that reach into infinity, and we have a place in those plans. God’s eternal is our eternal, too. Our present moments don’t define us in God’s eyes; rather, he sees the bigger picture. He sees us as he created us, and he sees what we will be in his eternal kingdom.

Since we’ve returned from our Colorado adventure, I’ve tried to be more intentional about restoration. I sit on the dock and watch turtles swimming. I try to give all of my attention to conversations with others. I sit and read and think without feeling guilty about it. Sure, the anxiety is still there. Sure, there are still deadlines to meet. Sure, there are still the usual struggles, both internal and external. But, I’m working more intentionally on restoration and renewal.

This week, I would challenge you to consider finding some space in your schedule for restoration. Maybe you don’t have time for a mountain hike, but a walk through a park or rest in a quiet place can do wonders for the soul. God wants to restore you, so let him work to restore and renew your strength.

Blessings and Peace,

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