North Carolina’s Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains offer an attractive area with waterfalls and streams of water flowing all around. I am intrigued by the mountain tops and even more so by the view they offer. The breathtaking perspective at its peak makes me appreciate the climb.
I recently partnered with a couple of other leaders to deliver a women’s retreat weekend in the quaint area of Burnsville, NC. It was an opportunity filled with personal discovery for each woman to encounter who GOD IS…for them. The location was lush, green, and nestled amongst tall trees.
One of my favorite views each day was a mountain top glimpse-a place high above the rest. Oh, to live at that uppermost area-on top of the world. The brief thought of living at the top sounded peaceful, relaxing, and charming. What a captivating dream until realistic thinking kicked into gear.
Being on a “mountain top” broadcasts the perfect life when people mention it. However, it took on a different angle the minute I heard someone say, “You can’t survive at the pinnacle of a mountain-if you do you will wither away.” (Talk about bursting my bubble even though I consider myself a beach bum!)
There is great truth to the statement I heard. Although the crest of a mountain offers amazement and an amazing viewpoint of things below, it is not meant for everyday living.
Let me share 3 reasons why:
1. First, what is the purpose of a “Mountain Top” in life? To celebrate the struggle and hardship to get to the summit, right?
It is not easy graduating from college, there is major work in overcoming addictions, it takes sweat equity to break generational strongholds, the battle of a nagging ever present temptation takes skills beyond a solider, the years of facing cancer face-to-face, and the list goes on and on.
But oh, the glory once it is conquered-a mountain top of life-a moment worth celebrating. It is here where we take the time to express gratitude and sincere love for the LORD. A commemoration for what God has brought us through and reflecting on the valley of hardship survived.
Much like a birthday party or anniversary, it is an observance, a remembrance and it is a great treasure forever in our hearts. Nevertheless, the celebration is brief and daily tasks await.
The “Mountain Top” is a salute to survival and a glimpse of God’s training in life’s trials.
2. Next, the conditions atop the mountain doesn’t sustain life.
Yep, the air is thin. It is not meant to be a place where one should abide. The higher altitude places a restriction on the oxygen level-sometimes the point of unhealthiness. Also, let me add the fact that the climate conditions can be extremely harsh.
Therefore, maintaining this “mountain top” lifestyle becomes harder than the struggle that got us there.
Think of it in vacation terms. Boy, what joy to go relax and take a break from day-to- day pressures of life. Kick back and enjoy while someone else cleans, cooks, drives, etc. But, at some point if I want to stay at this level of “resort” I will need to put in all the work myself. This level of luxury isn’t free and money can only stretch so far.
I think I would quickly see it is impossible for me to provide for myself at this level. It would begin to choke the life right out of me. There wouldn’t be time to even sleep let alone rest. At some point I would be begging to go back down the mountain.
The mountain top has boundaries and restrictions that are meant to be experienced as brief moments in life. It cannot provide a healthy daily supply of what we need.
3. Finally, there is very little growth at the mountain top.
Water is scarce and the soil is usually lacking the proper nutrients. Take a good look around. What happened to that lush forest and streams of water? It somehow disappeared.
Why? Because a mountain peak wasn’t designed for growth. It only provides a view of how far you have come and what lies ahead. It is a mere pinnacle of life to celebrate and encourage. But in order to continue to mature, grow, and truly live you have to enter back into a valley.
It is in the valley where you will find life-sustaining air, streams of refreshing water, comfort in the vegetation, perseverance in the trials of life, and true growth in your faith. The LORD is able to refine us to become more and more like Jesus in these oxygen rich conditions.
Enjoy the Mountain Tops in life. Celebrate them for what they are worth! Yet, always remember the ascension, descension, and valley is where trust, faith, and endurance abide.
Regardless of the amount of Mountain Tops you encounter in life’s pathway—cling to the true Living Water, feast on His great substance, and live fully in the valley.