Q. Leaving the valley for the mountaintop is everyone's desire, but are you ready for the journey?
A woman said, "I'm ready for a change so why am I so scared?" Asking that question is like asking if you're willing to leave the projects and live in the penthouse. The answer seem obvious. Who wouldn't want to leave behind the struggle for the ease of a better life? What we often don't take into consideration, however, is the uncertainty of the transition from one level to the other.
You'd think everyone would be excited for you as you accend into a healthier place in life spiritually and in your everyday life. This is often where we get the greatest push back. The opposition that can rob us of our joy and beckon us to look back. Having lived life on both ends of the spectrum, I'm always amazed at the hostile and nasty treatment of those in lowly places. Is it our desire to lord over someone else that causes us to belittle others? Our a need to feel great about ourselves? Whatever the reason this terrain is the toughest to maneuver.
During a time in ministry when life wasn't as rosey as it appeared to onlookers from the outside with no family health insurance and a looming heart condition I turned to government assistance for help. The questions asked were often insulting and demeaning, but when you're desperate there is no room for "offended". Offended was a luxury I couldn't afford. So I continued no matter how infuriating because the need was greater than my pride.
What sets us apart from a pro athlete and a casual player is not always talent and ability, but committement to the struggle. The valley is where our faith is built and faith proven in the valley makes you eligible for the mountain, but you have to endure the everchanging terrain on the way there.
The mountain of transfiguration is 9000 feet above sea level, covered in snow in summer. On the way up you experience every type of weather. You don't know what you're going to have to face from day to day. The air is thin and the wind is cold, but they went up because there they would see Jesus in a different way. Going through the struggle of trying to qualify for government assistance gave me insight into what so many others experienced everyday. The air was thin, I often found it hard to breathe. The wind was cold, friends scatter when times get hard. The fact that my husband was a minister made the request more difficult because with it came suspicion as to the why. Feeling the pressure and opposition from above and below. The terrain we were traveling was changing under our feet and it was terrifying.
It's in the high place things change from what they were before. Psalms 18: 33
"He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights."
If only the scripture read, " he made my feet" implying I was already equipped for the terrain instead we develop as we journey stumbling in fear along the way.
Matt. 17: 1-3
After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John the brother of James with him. He led them up a high mountain. They were all alone. There in front of them his appearance was changed. His face shone like the sun. His clothes became as white as the light. Just then Moses and Elijah appeared in front of them. Moses and Elijah were talking with Jesus.
You will change inside before you change outside. Are you fighting your change because it's an ugly transition? People will stop you, and view you, in the middle of your change and that's hard on our pride. They will judge you by the turn they met you in. That's why one person can think you're awesome and another not so much. It all depends on the turn they met you in. If you're not careful, it can lead you into a tail spin because although you're changing you know you are not there yet. You are becoming. I'm no longer wrestling with the things I battled on the valley, but now I have a new mountain to climb, a new vision to reach on the mountaintop. Graciously, God takes us step by step because if we got there too fast we'd faint along the way. Don't despise the struggle, but thank God for the steps.
The loses we endure, or the terrain we travel, isn't the same. This journey of the struggle has been very different for my husband than for me. Though we've both suffered much, we've suffered differently because the lessons were different.
With the death of my father. I lost a dad, but mom lost a life partner of 65 years. The person she woke up and fell asleep next to but now wakes up in an empty bed alone. Everyday routine for me isn't altered. I have ongoing memories and miss dad's beautiful face, but having been out of the house for decades I miss the memory not the reality. Mom misses the reality. They workouted together, ate breakfast at the table, daily conversation, caring for each other making sure perscriptions were filled, flu shots were taken in tandem. The view of losses is different based on where you stand.
I often considered giving up and turning back. All of the embarrassing moments of slipping on uncharted terrain that I couldn't hide away from peering eyes. Needing help getting up again. The whispered voices I couldn't turn away as now I needed a hand up and was no longer the helping hand, all brought me to verse 2, "and Jesus was transfigured before them." Transfigure: to change in outward form or appearance. For years I had prayed, God change me. Make me into the woman you want me to be. I hadn't expected it to be in plain veiw for all to see. I hadn't expected it to be life altering. Yet here, Jesus tranfigured, transform, before them. Those He had, taught, led and trained.
He couldn't leave the valley for the mountaintop unchanged and neither can we. The view is different, so we must learn to maneuver the terrain, endure the weather, and often times alone in preparation for what's ahead.
I've since learned that following the example of Jesus is deeper than I had ever known. It's not in one area of my life and it's not just in the areas I feel I need Him. My prayer is still
God change me. Make me into the woman you want me to be, but now I understand the magnitude of that prayer and in that I surrender.