The instructions seemed simple enough.
“Pull up and park by the red barn. Walk out to the left and up the ridge. Follow the ridge out the point.”
These were the directions we were given when we were invited to hunt turkeys on a new parcel of land. I had run into a friend the day before and he offered us the invitation to go out to some land he owned and see if we could find any birds. We jumped at the opportunity as this particular tract of land was very close to the office and, for once, we didn’t have to travel forty-five minutes out into the wilderness. It seemed like a great chance to get an easy jump on some turkeys.
I spent some time the night before going over the maps to pick out ridge lines and valleys, trying to picture what we may encounter. Having never been on this property before our first glimpse would be at zero dark thirty, hours before daylight. To some degree we were going in blind, however, the landowner had given us guidance on how to get to the high point so we would be best positioned.
We pulled up to the barn at 4:00 AM. The cold spring air needled our skin as we climbed out of the truck and geared up. Even though we were only a couple miles from major commercial shopping centers, the darkness was thick. After several minutes my eyes adjusted to the darkness and with what little moonlight there was we began to make our way according to the directions we had been given. I had my phone out trying to use the map to help navigate us to the top of the ridge. With gear on our backs and cameras in hand we set off toward the wood line. Just after we entered the woods the incline shifted sharply upward. I checked the map again, navigating us towards the markers I had saved in my research. Within minutes we had broken into a sweat. We were not walking or even hiking up the hill at this point. We were in an all out climb. Grabbing trees and rocks for stability I was now second guessing my navigation skills. With each stride the angle became more intense. The higher we went the steeper the climb became.
After several minutes we broke out on the top of the ridge and the terrain flattened out. Kyle and I were both doubled over billowing steam into the darkness as we gasped for oxygen. I ripped off my heavy jacket and felt the cold wind hit me. It was quite a wake up call.
Once we gathered ourselves we continued down the ridge and got setup for the sunrise and prepared to begin the hunt.
Have you ever found yourself in a situation you weren’t expecting? Has life ever shifted sharply and you weren’t expecting it? Maybe you feel like you’ve been following the directions you had, but it’s turned out more difficult than you pictured it. That was us that morning.
When you’re pushing forward into unknown territory it can be frustrating. It can be exhausting. It can even be frightening. There were a lot of things we weren’t sure of during that ascent. All we had was a map with a mark. I kept looking at it every few minutes, and each time I checked it we were getting closer. I knew that if we just kept pushing we would hit the top. I knew that when we hit the top of the ridge we would have a chance to capture something amazing.
Is this where you are in your life? Are you chasing a dream that seems just out of reach? Most of the stories you hear about people achieving their goals have one thing in common. The moment they were on the edge of giving up was just before they hit the mark. It’s usually the last part of the climb to any summit or any pinnacle that is the steepest. The closer you get to your goal the more difficult the opposition will appear. This is when the enemy starts to whisper in your ear that it won’t be worth it. You can’t make it. You don’t have what it takes. The problem with the enemy is… he’s a liar!
We believe that the greatness you are chasing is worth the work. God planted something amazing in your heart and He’s given you the talent to cultivate it. His purpose for your life is incredible and better than you can imagine. Keep pushing. Keep climbing. Know that when the climb gets more difficult it’s because you’re getting closer to greatness. Don’t ever give up on your pursuit.
What Kyle and I experienced that morning was amazing. Once we reached the top of the ridge and followed it out to the point, we had front row seats to an awesome spectacle. We watched the sun crest over the distant hills against the blue sky and for the second time that morning, we were left breathless. The climb was unexpected. It was exhausting. It was frustrating. But it was worth it.
Your climb may be more difficult than you expected. It may be exhausting. It may be frustrating, but I promise you, when you pursue the purpose that God has placed in you, it will be worth it.