Have you ever wished you could have a scenic overlook of your life—a past, present, and future look to see why you’ve experienced the failures, grief, and struggles? Wouldn’t it be nice to see the bigger picture and understand what God is doing?
The Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference
A Writers Experience
When I went to the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference last week I was able to visit the scenic overlook at the top of the mountain where we stayed. There were beautiful sunrises and picturesque views, and I took lots of pictures.
While it’s so good to catch up with writer friends and make new ones, the conference can feel like you are drinking from a fire hose.
I took classes on marketing my book, starting a podcast, and branding, as well as how to join various groups that help you become a successful author. I’m still praying about how much to spend in these areas and which of them God is leading me to do.
Then there are the contests…I have a love/hate relationship with them. It’s nice to win an award, but the sting of not placing is tough. Contests are an affirmation for me. It’s nice to know your peers like what you’ve written enough to rate your piece high enough for an award. Contests can also make you feel like you are on the right track.
But what happens when you don’t place? Does it mean that everything you write is bad? No, it doesn’t. We have to trust God with all we do. Our writing, our art, our promotions and jobs, and our education.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.1 Peter 5:6-8 ESV
The Scenic Overlook
The Mountain Experience
As I drove my friend to the airport, I said, “It would be nice to understand what God is doing!” Of course, she agreed and said, “Wouldn’t we all like that?” It’s true.
I stopped at a scenic overlook on my drive home to Ohio. While there was a steep path going up to the overlook there was another path at the parking lot level to see the same view. Of course, I took the steep path. I didn’t even see the other deck until I was walking back to my car.
As I looked out at the mountains, I couldn’t help but feel small. They were so far away and so high. The trek I made up the path was nothing compared to climbing one of those mountains. We often think of mountain experiences in our Christian walk as highs or the happiest moments in our lives.
However, when I look at these mountains, how often do we think about the trip to the mountain? Only those who prepare for it get there.Tweet
The Trek to the Mountain
Six essentials we need before climbing a mountain
!. Equipment: the right boots, outerwear, pants, and layers of clothing for the heat and the cold weather.
2. Food and water: That kind of hike would take a lot out of us physically. We would need to carry enough food and water to stay hydrated.
3. Protection: We would need bear spray at least to protect ourselves from any predators that might follow us or block our path. Also, there might be underbrush. We would need to have a knife to get through the undergrowth that may hinder or prevent us from getting where we need to be.
4. Rest: We could not do that hike in one day. We need to rest.So we would need to have a sleeping bag and/or tent to camp out in.
5. Preparation: That hike would not happen in a few hours or a day. A trip like that could take days. Be ready for the trip. Rest up and exercise to prepare your body for the climb.
Do you see the parallels in our Christian walk?
Spiritual Mountain Highs
Six essentials before we get to that Mountain High
What do we need to prepare for a spiritual mountain high experience?
1. Equipment: Prayer and God’s Word. We need the Holy Spirit to prepare our hearts and the Word of God to equip us.
“Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” Hebrews 13:20-21 ESV
2. Food and water: Jesus. He alone can keep us going in our Christian walk—whether it is a mountain high or a valley low.
Jesus. He alone can keep us going in our Christian walk—whether it is a mountain high or a valley low.Tweet
“Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.” John 6:35
“But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:14
3. Protection: Satan is our predator. He lies in wait to overwhelm us or convince us to stop so we will not make it to the mountain. Are you ready with God’s armor? In the Old Testament, men in a covenant relationship switched their armor with the other. God has given you His armor to fight satan’s attacks.
“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” Ephesians 6:11 ESV
4. Rest: Our “walk” with Christ is a marathon, not a sprint. We need to rest–that’s why He gave us the Sabbath.
“There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his.” Hebrews 4:9-10
5. Preparation: Just as we wouldn’t climb a mountain without preparing, we can’t have a mountain-top experience with God without some preparation.
“Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. “ 1 Peter 1:13 ESV
Heaven–the Scenic Overlook
So, while we don’t get that scenic overlook experience in this lifetime–a chance to see and understand all God is doing, we will someday in Heaven. Everything we have gone through will make sense. God was working on your mountains and in your valleys, He is working now and will continue to do a good work within us until the day we die.
Could not agree more with so many of your well-made points Ms. Stephanie. Remembering that the purpose of our writing is to serve Him helps me to also remember that He decides the value and worth of it. Contests, achieving awards or not, are nice ways to validate our efforts, but the true reward awaits us in Heaven – a result of our willingness to obey His leading. Another terrific post my friend, and loved all the photos you’ve shared to date.
Thank you my friend. You said it well. He decides, not me, not us. The Lord gives and takes away–He alone remains.
I appreciate the wisdom of writing for His Applause alone. He controls it all and we can trust His timing. Thank you for sharing this.
Thank you Sharon! I think we all have to remind ourselves once in a while that it’s about Him, not us.
The view from the top is always worth the effort. God often meets with you in the “high places.” But truth be told, He is more evident in the valley or the steep journey to get to the top.
So true, Ben! Thanks for your wisdom.
The view is always best from the top, just as our lives is best lived with the Lord
Amen! The view is best from the top but we often live in the valleys. The Lord is with us in both places as well as everywhere in between.
Phillipians 1:6 is comforting to me, knowing that Jesus is the Author and Finisher of our faith. He sees us as that finished product and speaks to us from that vantage point. PS: I have a love-hate relx with contests, too … LOL!
Yes, that is so true. Thank you for reading my blog!
A good reminder that to get to the top of the mountain we must prepare, and preparation takes commitment, effort, and time.
Thank you, LuAnn. You said that well, commitment is key.
Two things: (1) A.W. Tozer wrote: “The majority is always wrong!”
(2) The title of my first book just happened to be, entitled, “Mountain Watch: Writings From Outside the Camp.”