January 20, 2014

How You Know You're Doing the Right Thing With Your Life

Picacho Peak in Arizona. Photo courtesy of azstateparks.com.
I am not an avid hiker by any means.

However, there are tons of amazing trails in Phoenix and surrounding areas, and I love a leisurely hike when I get the chance.

Over 10 years ago, a friend invited me to hike Picacho Peak just outside of Tucson with him and his family. I wasn't in great shape, but I wasn't in terrible shape either. So I said sure.

Thing is, I had no idea what I'd agreed to.

See, Picacho Peak is a beautiful hike (see picture above). The first half of the hike is steep, but pleasant enough. I huffed and puffed my way up to the "saddle" (the mid-way point) and patted myself on the back when I reached it. I said to myself, "You did it! Look, it wasn't that hard." Even though it kinda was.

But then, my friend said we were going to the top. All well and good -- of course we were. But what I didn't know is that making it to the top required a lot more work. And steel cables. As in, the terrain was much more difficult, and hikers have to use steel cables for balance and help climbing parts of the mountain.

Some hikers using the steel cables to climb Picacho Peak.
Photo courtesy of azstateparks.com.
Uh....

Let's just say, I wasn't thrilled at the prospect. Still, I put on a brave face and agreed to go. After all, you can't climb a mountain and not make it to the top. I'm no quitter.

I definitely wouldn't have made it without my friend's encouragement. There were so many times I wanted to quit. My untrained body ached and strained. My hands hurt from the cables. I kept picturing myself stumbling and falling, falling, falling to my death over the side of the mountain.

But eventually, I made it.

And the air at the top of a mountain never made me feel so alive as that one did.

Because it wasn't easy.

In fact, it was the hardest hike of my life.

But even today, over a decade later, I still remember it.

How many times in my life do I reconsider doing things because they appear too difficult? How often do I wonder if I should throw in the towel after a misstep? Ask God if He's REALLY asking me to follow that path?

Let's just say, more than I would like.

In my everyday life, being a novelist is my Picacho Peak. Nothing has ever been as hard for me as writing novels. I can spend a year on a novel -- putting everything I have into it -- and still not get it right. I'm still learning, it's true. But it can be disheartening.

But...

It challenges me. And shouldn't the thing we spend our time on -- the things we are most passionate about -- challenge us?

Should they come easy?

I say no.

Because in my opinion, those things are the most worth doing. They garner the largest rewards, because I worked for them.

I sweated for them.

I toiled for them.

I ached for them.

Which tells me I'm doing exactly what I'm supposed to with my life.

Your Turn: What are you passionate about? Is it worth the effort, the sweat, the challenge to pursue your passions?

*The winner of A Match Made in Texas from last week's drawing is Gabrielle Meyer. Congrats! 

9 comments:

  1. Awesome post, Linz. I'm in a very similar boat to you as far as writing novels. :) It challenges me like nothing else has (except for maybe math...haha!)...but seriously, it's hard. But I 100% agree with you...if the things we're passionate about don't challenge us in some way, well, I think generally we probably won't stay that passionate about them. Plus, there's something really cool about being able to look back and see how we've grown...and that happens with writing, for sure. I know I have a TON to learn...but I can definitely look at a scene I'm writing now versus a scene I wrote, say, three years ago and see the difference.

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    1. Thanks, friend! And yes, it's so nice when we can see improvement. Even if we aren't yet at the top of the mountain, it's good to look back and see we've made forward motion at least!

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  2. Lindsay, your post just brought a tear to my eye. I've been dealing with discouragement with writing recently. You're right. I guess my first step is to reignite my passion for my story and to keep moving forward. Yes, writing is hard, but it's also drawn me much closer to Jesus, because I depend on Him in the process—for sanity (wink), but also for His vision for the characters, the story, and for His reassurance when the road gets hard.

    Beautiful post, my friend!

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    1. I'm so glad it encouraged you, friend! I know there are certain times when writing is tough. It takes everything you have just to sit and write a scene. But you know what? 300 words are better than 0. Do what you can in the moments you have. It's still forward motion!

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  3. I remember sitting in Starbucks in July 2012 with you, your joy and passion for writing was evident and contagious. Neither of us were agented, but we had hope and enthusiasm. It's been a wild year and a half. Actually, toss in the word HARD. At some points, I know you ached and wept over things.

    But now? You have a great agent and you're in the BEST agency...so how's the view?

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    1. The view is pretty darn good. I could always look up and be daunted at what's ahead, but it's certainly refreshing to look down and see how far I've come...how far we've both come!

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  4. Yes, yes, yes. I've climbed a lot of tough mountains: marriage, parenting, writing...writing while being married and having children. :) Right now I'm reading this while Asher is sitting next to me on the kitchen counter waiting for his oatmeal muffins to bake in the oven and he's asked me about twenty times in the last twelve minutes if they're done--just did again. It's distracting, but--did it again--I love my husband and children more than life itself. So yes, though the journey is hard, the rewards are priceless. The mountain I've been climbing recently is healthy eating. It's been incredibly hard to reprogram my family to eat a different way. It takes discipline, imagination, and determination to keep at it. But, again, the long term rewards will be worth the climb.

    When I saw that picture of the three ladies climbing together, it made me think about our GLAM group and, though we may be climbing a tough mountain, we're climbing it together and helping each other get to the top. Looking forward to July!!

    By the way, yay for me! I can't wait to read a Match Made in Texas!!!

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    1. You're so right...it's so worth it. AND I never would have made it this far without my GLAM girls and other writer friends, that's for certain. :)

      Can't wait to chat tomorrow night about your healthy eating endeavors.

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  5. Love this post, Linds! I am more grateful for those things I worked hard for than the ones that came easily. And when it's hard and so much more than us, we don't quite readily try to take the glory that truly belongs to God and His grace working in us! Hugs, girlfriend! Love you!

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