Risking the Rattlesnake for Ravishing Beauty

It was an enchanting idea. Sunshine. Mountains. And the promise of a lovely view.  Until the jog turned to a tedious hike, the trail became deserted, and the air got thin. Despite the challenges, I was still determined to at least make it to the top of Horsetooth Rock before dying. The grave of a less fortunate hiker along side the trail sent a chill up my spine as I continued my solo trek up the rocky path.

winding paths

At last the dirt trail ended and the boulders began. I was shaking from the adrenaline rush, lack of oxygen, and unbelievable vista. Crawling on all fours for fear of becoming another grave along the trail, I managed to crest Horsetooth Rock (7,230 feet elevation).

almost to the top

Spectacular. Ravishing. Beauty.

Horsetooth Mountain

Still in awe of this dangerous and yet magnificent summit and exhausted from the hike up, I stretched out my hand to steady myself. Shock and horror almost paralyzed me as I realized that within just 12 inches of my hand was a diamondback rattlesnake. I gasped for air.

rattlesnake coiled up

That’s a…….uhhhhhhhh………SNAKE!!!!! And a rattlesnake at that!

rattlesnake

[Thankfully, my little friend didn’t strike, I wasn’t bitten, and I actually managed to get a decently close picture.]

Horsetooth Rock Trail

In many ways, a life worth living is like my hike. Cliffs, slippery rocks, jagged paths, and even rattlesnakes threaten the climber who dares to reach the pinnacle. Life is full of failures, disappointments, sickness, uncertainty, obstacles, fear, and an onslaught of other deterrents that would derail you and me from pursuing and enjoying the splendor of God’s promises.

Horsetooth Rock Trail start

Breathtaking views generally do not appear at the bottom of the hill, but we anticipate them as we hike. Promises are much the same. We must take God at His Word. Believe that Jesus is trustworthy. Believe He is good. Believe His promises are good. It is by faith we conquer and by faith we receive the promises of God.

the heart of Horsetooth Mountain

“…let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance and that sin which so readily clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us. Looking away from all that will distract to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith (giving the first incentive for our belief) and is also its Finisher (bringing it to maturity and perfection)” Hebrews 12:1b-2a AMP.

Life is risky. But the reward of believing God’s promises always makes the risk worthwhile.

purple flowers and a view

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The Truth About Being Shy

I’m an extrovert and I’m shy. It’s true and I’m not proud of it.

Please allow me to explain.

Most of the time, meeting people is a hobby for me. I actually thrive on encountering new names, faces, stories, and journeys. Each new friendship is an adventure.

But there are moments where I find myself surrounded by unfamiliar faces, attempting to selfishly hide behind my shy side. What will they think of me? They’re intimidating! What if I am supposed to know who they are, but I don’t? What if I can’t relate to them? What if they don’t want to talk to me? They look weird or boring… or both. What if I get stuck talking to them?

Photo Credit: Edge of Space via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Edge of Space via Compfight cc

In less than a minute I can be completely consumed with doubt or fear or prejudice. All of my excuses seem to stem from a central source: selfishness. Shyness demands that others take the initiative in beginning a conversation with me. It forces someone else to ask me questions and discover my interests. It’s easy to be shy and let someone else make the effort. Focusing on myself blinds me to the fact that the people around me are human too. They are created in God’s image. They have a story. And they are part of God’s story.

We are explicitly instructed to “do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than [ourselves]; do not merely look out for [our] own personal interests, but also for the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4). What better way to begin living out this command than in conversation? We have a plethora of opportunities on a regular basis to esteem the [cashier, barista, client, coworker, professor, receptionist, etc.] better than ourselves.

It’s time to stop pretending that being shy is excusable.

It’s time to regard others as more important than myself.

It’s time to smile, say hello, and meet someone new.