There will always be people that will tell you what you can't do, or why they feel you can't do it.
The Giant Series at our church was a 6 week series, and every week I was able to apply the sermon to our plan to thru hike. I have to give the credit to First NLR in North Little Rock, AR for the inspiration for this set of blog posts.
The second week dealt with why people can be so critical and how to deal with them and still go after our giant. He listed a few different reasons that people often choose to criticize our plans.- -They need to fight the same giant, but aren't yet willing.- -They are insecure- -They are jealous- -They simply don't have anything better to do.- Looking back, I realize these are actually pretty accurate. The trick to this is to not let the criticism keep us from going after our giants. We must keep focused on the giant we are trying to slay and the reason we are slaying it. One of the best ways to emotionally deal with how their words make you feel is to simply pray for them and then move forward. You know you have done your part and you are leaving the rest up to God and taking care of your business. For me, this applies to anyone who wants to tell me that I can't succeed at doing this because of my weight or physical shape, or because of the gear that we don't have (there will be a future post specific to this topic), or because I am choosing to do it with 4 kids. I think that has been my number one criticized item when I mention this. I even posted a question in a backpacking page for kids and families, of all places, and the remarks I received were unbelievable. I was told it was crazy and "irresponsible" to try to take 4 kids on a thru hike. It was too dangerous, or it wasn't fair to them because there was no way that the kids would be wanting to do this. I was even told by one person that it wasn't right for other "real hikers" to have to put up with kids along the trail... And of course there is always the question of schooling. Usually when I say they are homeschooled the subject is dropped, but occasionally I have people asking what they will be doing on the trail. That is mostly just out of pure curiosity and they drop that subject after that, but I get soooo frustrated when people say kids shouldn't thru hike. I have worked really hard at trying to just thank them for their input and respect their thoughts and agree to disagree and move on.
The last part of the handout this day was talking about how small battles are practice for big victories. When David offered to go and fight Goliath, Saul told him he was just a boy and not capable of fighting this giant. But David told Saul how he had been tending to the sheep and had rescued them from a lion and a bear himself. Although neither of them were near as big or as intimidating as Goliath, God had been preparing David for this very day with the confidence and the skills to be able to win the fight. 1 Samuel 17:31-36.
The ability to win your fight does not come from within, it comes from God.
For me, God has been conditioning all of us without us even realizing it through all of our crazy camping and hiking adventures. We have been caught in storms, dealt with wild animals and floods. We have gotten lost and ended up hiking 10 miles when we thought it was only 3. We have dealt with overheating due to that extra mileage and running out of water and had to share the last bottle we had with the youngest because she was so hot. We have been in situations where we had to rely on each other and those times, even though in the moment were some of the WORST times, are now some of the most fond memories we have and brought us so much closer as a family. I see now that all along, God knew we would be here, and he knew that I would need those experiences to be able to look back and say "look... we made it through that... we are going to do this, and show EVERYONE that with God, ANYTHING is truly possible".
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