We did some hiking on our most recent camping trip at Killarney Provincial Park and I noticed that the park office posted a list of tips for hikers. The one that stood out to me was the caution that every hiker should be aware of his or her own limits. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t have a very good grasp of what my limits actually are.
Although I have been known to occasionally bite off more than I could chew, I am much more likely to underestimate what I am capable of. My Daughter-in-law spent some years in the military and she told me about a Drill Sergeant she had in basic training. On long marches when she was absolutely convinced that she couldn’t go another step he would come alongside and point out a landmark in the near distance, telling her that all she had to do was make it that far. Once she got there he would choose another landmark for her to focus on reaching. She would end up going the distance in spite of what she thought were her limits. That Drill Sergeant helped her discover what she was capable of.
I’ve never forgotten that story. It applies to so much more than hiking. I don’t have a Drill Sergeant but I have a Heavenly Father who is constantly helping me to discover just what I am capable of. When I am feeling overwhelmed by what I am being asked to do, He helps me break it down into ‘bite-sized pieces’. If those pieces still seem impossible I break it down even more. There have been times when I’ve broken it down so far that my goal is simply to take one more step in the direction I know I should be going. Each step becomes a tiny victory and, in my mind, I hear His whisper of “Well done”. Even when I am convinced my strength is gone and I am at the end, I find myself lifting my eyes to the next landmark and taking another step. I’ve discovered that I am capable of much, much more than I might have imagined.
A year ago I was having a lot of trouble with my hips. I couldn’t walk without pain and I wondered if my hiking days were over. Since then I’ve lost just over 45 pounds and with a lot of careful exercise and daily doses of glucosamine I am fitter than I have been in years. I am walking pain free and so my husband and I took on a six kilometer hike up a mountain in Killarney Park yesterday. Slow and steady, one step at a time, we climbed till we could stand on the summit and take in the spectacular views. I felt I could almost touch the sky.