A picture is worth a thousand words.
What do these pictures say to you?
This was me at obstacle 19 of 22 during the Spartan Palm Beaches Sprint. In picture 1, I am looking up at the vertical cargo net thinking to myself, “no way in hell am I climbing this”. The first rung was too high for my tired legs to reach, I was just plain tired, and the net just looked too high to climb. The obstacle before this was the multi-rig, which I bypassed because I knew my lack of upper body strength would not get me thought it. I knew still to come were the monkey bars and the rope climb. Which I had already planned on bypassing, also due to my lack of upper body strength. I was ready to bypass this one too, but not wanting to bypass 4 obstacles in a row, I decided to “try” it.
Picture 2 finds me on that first (too high) rung. I made it, but as you can see from my arms, I was holding on “for dear life”. In that moment, I was once again thinking “no way”, I tried it, let me just jump down and bypass it. The young lady you see above me, was part of my team. The whole time she was climbing down, she was encouraging me, telling me “you can do it”. I was still ready to just get down and bypass, however, not pictured on the sidelines is my daughter (who took the pictures), she too is telling me “mom, you can do this”. I honestly didn’t believe it from either of them, but I took the next step up despite my fear. I got to about the 4th rung up, the fear of the height, and the feeling that I was losing my grip (I was literally hugging that net with every step), was getting the best of me and once again I was going to go back down and bypass. Then I realized, the prospect was just as scary at that point to get down from there, as it was to continue up and over. My “cheerleaders” were still there, somehow, I mustered up the strength to continue up. At the top I thought “just don’t look down”, I got one leg over, reaching down until my foot felt secure on a rung, before bringing the other leg over. Still hugging the net and rigging at every point with my arms, I made it down the other side. All the while being guided by my daughter and my team members. I did it, I made it over, I got through the obstacle. It felt great! I felt accomplished, but most of all I felt grateful for those who encouraged me and had faith that I could do it.
On my way home, while chatting with my hubby, I reflected on that photo and that moment. I must be honest, it nearly brought me to tears. Not that moment per say, but what it meant to me after it was over. I realized how often in life we are faced with obstacles that appear just too difficult to overcome. Our instincts are often to avoid the obstacle, get around it, bypass it. Or maybe we try to overcome it and think twice about it once we start. Other times we do our best to face an obstacle, and however difficult, get to a point where it is just as hard to backtrack and give up, as it is to press forward. Many times, in these instances we have “cheerleaders” those encouraging us to keep going; those who in the moment, have more faith in us than we have in ourselves. Sometimes we must allow their faith in us to get us through those obstacles, until we get to a point where we can believe it ourselves that we can do it.
As a woman of faith, I know that this is exactly what God calls us to do every day. We must step out in faith, even when we have no confidence in ourselves and our own abilities; He calls us for a greater purpose. We need to ensure that we surround ourselves with people of faith; faith in God, faith in themselves and faith in us. Allow God to speak to us through those who we surround ourselves with, so that we can hear those words of encouragement. The first step is often the hardest, but with Him all things are possible (Matthew 19:26)!