A Year of Gifts
“Do something that scares you every day.”
“Push beyond your comfort zone.”
We hear the advice all the time but how often do we take it to heart? How often do we genuinely push and challenge ourselves? I suspect your honest answers to these questions will give you a good indication of how much growth you're seeing in your own life right now.
If we don’t test our limits, we’ll never know how far we can go.
I had the opportunity to push myself, physically, last Monday during a quick trip to Arizona. If I'm being sincere here, I feel like I drive myself mentally on a daily basis, but I admit I’ve been slacking on the physical side.
Friends we were staying with suggested a hike. Unlike me, they are dedicated to their own physical fitness, and I admire them for that. A hike with them would not mean a leisurely stroll. Was I up to the challenge?
Absolutely! The weather was beautiful. In less than 48 hours, I'd be back at my desk at my day job while temperatures outside would start with a minus sign. It was time to get out and enjoy the beauty of the desert.
We headed to San Tan Mountain Regional Park, not far from their home. The park has numerous trails, and our friends have hiked them before. Which did we want to try? One of the easier ones? Or the one that would take us to the top?
Gulp. Would I hold them back and embarrass myself if we opted for the tough trail? Probably. But these were good friends, and I was confident they'd make sure we got out of there alive. They'd already shared a picture of one of their parents reaching the top. If a man twenty plus years older than me could make it, I couldn’t wimp out. They’d also mentioned another friend that chose not to push all the way to the top. So if I couldn’t physically make it, I had an out. I wouldn’t be the first to wait on the trail for them to finish.
At the fork in the path, we took a right, following the arrow toward the more challenging route: Gold Mine Trail.
The first bit wasn’t bad. My confidence was building. But then the route started climbing. I was getting a little winded. Then a lot winded. But we know what to do, right? I kept telling myself: head down…one foot in front of the other…don’t look up. Every journey consists of one step at a time. Yeah, yeah, yeah. How long could I keep it up, pretending I wasn’t dying to sit down and rest?
I finally confessed I needed to take a break. And here’s the deal. Our friends were great about it. We stopped, visited a bit, and enjoyed the scenery. Our goal wasn’t to get up and down as fast as possible. They were fine adjusting the pace. I was the only one being tough on myself. All I had to do was ask.
They’d followed this trail before. They knew the path well—where it would be tough and where it would get easier. Telling me this as we went along helped. Their guidance was encouraging.
I'm happy to report that despite shaking legs and labored breathing I did it. We went to the top of the trail together and enjoyed a spectacular view that stretched to the far horizon. The natural high of reaching the peak trumped the pain of the upwards journey.
Then it was time to go down. A piece of cake, right?
Turns out, coming down was a bit treacherous in spots. At one point my feet slipped right out from under me and down I went. I popped back up again as fast as I could, my pride hurt more than my butt. The small scab on my hand is nearly faded now. Bless the little kid climbing near us that witnessed my fall and assured me that he’d seen lots of people tumble right in that same spot. It wasn’t just me!
Once the trail leveled off again, we strolled back to the parking lot, stopping for pictures by a tall cactus, and stepping out of the way for mountain bikers heading up the trail. The conversation was lively and the path became busier, littered with little kids and families.
Our three-mile hike was a combination of excitement, pain, exhilaration, and reminders.
If we don’t test our limits, we never know how far we can go. Pushing ourselves reveals areas we may need to focus on more if we want to improve.
Important reminders I gleaned from our outing:
That trek through a beautiful state park in Arizona served up powerful reminders for me.
We can accomplish so much more than we think we can. Don’t worry about convincing anyone else that you can do something, but you do have to prove it to yourself. Strengthen the faith you have in your own abilities. Challenge yourself every day, do the tough things, and sit back afterwards with a smile, knowing you can do those things you set your mind to. Then do it again the next day. Quiet the fears in your own mind with daily reminders of your own strength. I have faith in you. Kim
Kimberly Diede Author
Hello everyone and welcome to my blog! My name is Kimberly Diede and I'm a fiction author and family girl. When time permits, I am happiest with a great cup of coffee in one hand and a book in the other. I love to alternate between reading and writing. Winters here can be long, dark and cold. Summers are unpredictable, lovely and always too short. Every season of the year, as in every season of life, is a gift. Let's celebrate it together!