When I was younger, I remember helping my dad's friend do hay out in a hilly field. I was running the loader tractor like I'd been doing for years, but wasn't familiar with the way the land rose and fell out in that field.
There was a time near the end of the day when I was putting the hay bale on the hayrack, and I don't even know how it happened, but the tractor's wheels on one side left the ground because of the way the tractor was on the hill and I thought for sure it was flipping on its side. I'd never been more scared, and needless to say, my dad finished loading the remainder of the bales that day.
Since then, I've had a thing will hills. I hate driving on them, I hate riding with someone who's driving on them.. In a truck, in a tractor, any of it. When I ride with my dad in the combine during harvest, I have to hold on to the handle when it gets to a hilly section because I freak myself out.
Yeah, I know, the tires are huge, it's unlikely it'll tip, he's been doing it for years, the hills aren't that hilly, they were able to plant on it, so they'll be able to do the same to harvest it, yada yada.. I'm a sissy when it comes to it. I can ride on a quad, on a pit bike, anything like that and not bat an eye, but big tractors and hills, no thank you.
Yesterday rolled around and the hay needed to be done. It was just me and my dad starting out and he wanted to bring the bales in from the end rows that he'd bailed the night before before he got started with bailing the rest of the field and I'd start lining them up to load up.
For whatever reason, he decided that I'd run the Agco pulling the hayracks and he'd load them up. Why, I'm not sure because I always run the loader, but that's how we began. If it were the field that's across the street from our house, I would've been fine. No sweat. But, it was the field behind the barns and those field are hilly and all over the place.
Cue the anxiety.
Okay.. I will be fine. Face my fears. Take it slow and it'll be okay.
When we're scared, we usually want to face the fear slowly, right? We take it a step at a time and confront whatever it is that prevents us from doing something?
Yeah.. well, turns out that's not the brightest idea sometimes. Sometimes, we have to go quick and get it over with.
I thought going up the hill slowly would be a good idea. I didn't think it was as smart when I got halfway up it and I wasn't going fast enough to keep it running and stalled the engine.
Well, shoot. My mind starts racing and all I know is I'm going to start rolling backwards down the hill any minute if I take my feet off the brakes, so I sat there as still as I could while my dad came over to help.
He told me I needed to speed it up to keep it from happening again, but I told him I didn't want to drive it anymore and we switched. Yes, I know.. scaredy cat. We weren't even halfway around the outskirts of the field so I knew we'd probably be facing that incidence more than once if I stayed in that tractor because I wasn't quite ready to be zooming up the hills.
So much for facing my fears, right?
While I might not have overcome my fear of hills, I did realize something out on the tractor yesterday. After that moment yesterday, I rode my smaller tractor, the one I felt safer on. I lined up the bails then loaded them on the hayrack. I listened to music and as I always do, I thought.
How often when we're going through the hills and valleys of life, do we give up or get tired and frustrated and think to ourselves that we can't do it anymore? How close are we to the end of a struggle, but we give up just before we see the light at the end of the tunnel?
Sometimes we do need to rest, refill our cup, restore our strength and hope. Other times, we have to push through, full steam ahead because if we give up now, then we might roll back.
Whether you're on a mountain top right now, the middle of a valley, or just pretty content, haven't we all been through moments where we're faced with being persistent or falling back into the way things used to be? We're tired of taking one step forward and then two steps back, but yet, every time, there we go.
We're halfway where we're aiming to be, but it's just sooo much easier to fall back into old patterns, old ways of life and settle because life really wasn't that bad. Like the tractor if I would've taken my feet of the brakes, it'd be easy to roll backwards. To give up the progress we've made because we get a little scared, a little uncertain.
We forget that we have someone beside us at all times. A cheerleader, an encourager, a lover, someone that believes in us and will not let us fall. When we're scared, when we feel helpless, empty of hope, defeated, torn, unworthy, the last place we want to look is to the One who died for us, but that's exactly where He wants us to look.
You see, He's on the mountain top and He's in the valley. He's in the middle of the hill when you can see the top, but start to fumble when you look back.
You might think you can't do it, that you'll keep going to the job you hate because everyone tells you it's where you belong and you've already been there for so long, or you keep going back to the relationship that hurt you because you're comfortable and you've already invested time in it and you think it'll get better. You'll study the subjects you dislike because someone is telling you you need to get a career in this field.
Let me be a friend to tell you this. I've been there. I've felt the uncertainty, hurt, loneliness, lack of patience. I've wanted to push through and go on, but sometimes it's hard. That's when like my dad coming in to help, that's when we need to not try and conquer something on our own, but turn to both the One who never leaves us and to those beside who He gave us to do this life with.
Let others encourage you and don't try to do it all on your own. Who you surround yourself and the words you tell yourself do matter. They can make you or break you in certain situations. Don't let the words out of your mouth or the affirmations you tell yourself be those that will prevent you from moving forward.
Most importantly, don't give up. If you need a moment, take a minute to rest. Just because you're struggling doesn't mean that you have to quit. He's behind you, and if you let Him, He won't let you fall. He'll give you a boost, a little push, and He'll place people and experiences along your path, some you expect and some that take you by surprise. Be open and let those moments bring you renewed strength and new hope.
You're closer to the top than you think. And even if it feels like it's going be months before you can take your foot off the brake and put it on the accelerator to get to the top, He will be there. He's a God of the hills AND valleys, and everywhere in between, and you are never alone.