New Beginnings: Trekking Unfamiliar Terrain
Posted February 1, 2022 by Sarah Green
Categories: Featured, Sarah, Sister Post
Are you uncomfortable with the uncertainty of what lies ahead? Proverbs 3:6 assures us that when we seek God, He will direct our steps. Often those words are easier to trust when on a wide, smooth, and comfortable path. Yet do we fully embrace them when the path feels uncertain? Embracing new, challenging terrain causes us to feel vulnerable, yet also allows us to trust God to direct our steps.
Trekking New Terrain
Trekking in the crisp winter air on miles of trails in the midst of huge snow-covered pine trees, I lose myself in my own little world. The mix between hard work and quiet trails is exhilarating. My deep breathing along with complete concentration as I classic ski is all encompassing.
On this mid-week afternoon in the heart of winter, I determine to ski the trails by myself. My husband drops me off at the trailhead. I plan to classic ski while he takes the kids sledding. I’m familiar with the nordic trails (we normally alpine ski), but this is a small mountain, and I feel confident. I immediately gear up and trudge to the right, up a large hill. Before I know it, an hour passes. Looking at the time, I realize I should turn around, but as I begin to head back the trail looks unfamiliar to me. Which way should I go? It is nearing 4 pm, which means soon it will be dark and my phone dead. I still feel fairly confident because I figure this is an “undersized mountain.”
“You grew up near the large-scale Bighorn Mountains,” I remind myself.
Then it starts to snow! The new snow covering my tracks, along with less visual light, shapes active fears in my mind.
Fear of the Unfamiliar
Forging on trails is something I’ve always enjoyed, yet I’ve found myself in uncomfortable situations where the trail is unfamiliar. Being lost feels scary, and so does being on a new spiritual path or road we feel God is calling us to. Yet, when we step into the unfamiliar, narrow, rocky, challenging terrain, we may find just what we’re looking for.
As a young adult, the fear of a new path could jolt me to a completely paralyzed state. That’s what fear does: it whispers or screams lies that become crippling. When we get the sense that God is calling us off the familiar trail to an unknown one, the powerful force of fear (Satan), is loudly broadcasting, “This isn’t for you. Turn around. You’re not good at this.” God says, “Put one foot in front of the other, and let’s move forward together.”
At times easy is nice, and even necessary. But I must reflect on whether easy is what’s best for me. When I’m in unfamiliar territory, whether a trail or leaning into change, I find myself on edge. This feeling leads to stomach knots, or even sheer terror. Is that the place I’m supposed to be entering into?
Listening for God’s Voice
Maybe it’s not wise to venture into the wilderness alone, but in my own personal life, I believe I am meant to enter into hard places, taking risks that scare me, or just doing what I know God is asking me to do. It amazes me how the smallest things can give me stomach flutters. It’s not always momentous events that God is calling us to…sometimes it is very small and uneventful choices in our daily grind. The phone call, email or conversation that needs to be had.
Comfort should not be our goal in life. Some days I wish it were, but the whole of our lives should lean toward stepping out of who we think we are and lean into who God says we are. We need to listen to His voice and not fear.
He tells us:
“You were made for more.”
“I believe in you.”
“Let’s take the road less traveled.”
I think that’s the way God speaks to me. Am I willing to listen?
Those of us who are willing to listen and seek Him will hear His voice. That day I got lost skiing, I climbed a couple of side trails trying to find my way back, as panic slowly ensued. My husband and I were able to communicate by phone for a short while, we knew finding each other was vital before my phone died. Eventually, I climbed an off-trail hill and found a road. Thankfully, my husband and I reconnected on that road before my phone died and it was completely dark. I learned a lot that day.
On the ski trail, I’m up for a challenge in unknown territory with a partner or two and a GPS.
In life am I comfortable on a familiar, wide, smooth, and easy path? Or am I willing to try a more challenging terrain? What new trails are you being challenged to trek in 2022?