This past April my husband and I vacationed in Cayman Brac, an island that is part of the Cayman Islands. We go every year for the amazing scuba diving and rock climbing. This time I pushed harder and felt more confident with my climbing than I had in a long time. I even lead a couple of routes two grades harder than my max.
I find it amazing how sometimes I can step out on the rock and feel courageous, strong and confident. Sometimes I am willing to take risks, go big and overcome my fears. Other times, not so much. Difficult leads often begin with fear and trepidation. I carry my trusty stick clip for the moves “I know” I can’t make. I shake, stress and drive my belayer crazy as I continually ask for slack followed by shouts to “take” only seconds later. Most of the time, after stick clipping the bolt above me, I effortlessly make the move that only seconds ago seemed impossible.
Why the Dichotomy?
Why the dichotomy? How come there are times when I feel so strong and confident, when other times I feel so weak and insecure? Why such an extreme? For me, the answer boils down to preparedness. The more prepared I am, the more confident I feel.
Looking back over my eight years of climbing, the following four factors have been key to my physical preparation and mental fortitude. Working hard in these four areas have enabled me to push beyond my limits with confidence and consistency.
- DIET: What does my diet look like? I’ve had a life-long struggle with junk food and my weight.
- TRAINING: Have I been training at the gym consistently? I’ve had a life-long struggle with laziness.
- CONSISTENCY: Have I been climbing consistently? My life can be crazy busy
- RELATIONSHIPS: When I do get out, with who am I climbing? Am I being inspired, encouraged and challenged to push harder?
If I am eating unhealthy foods and my weight is fluctuating, I feel lethargic and sluggish. If I’m not consistently working on strength training and endurance, I don’t feel strong or confident. If I haven’t been climbing regularly, I question my abilities before I even start. If I’m not spending time with climbers who challenge and inspire me, I may not have the confidence to work that difficult project and push beyond my limits.
Three years in a row we traveled to Cayman Brac and my climbing experiences were marred by injuries or illness. Last year I was determined to make things different. I worked hard on my health and fitness. I climbed indoors through the winter as much as I could. I trained hard at the gym, watched what I ate and spent time with friends that pushed me to be my best. I arrived healthy, strong and determined to crush it in Cayman.
Consistency is Key in My Walk
As I have pondered the correlation between consistency and success, God has challenged me in my walk with Him. There are times when I feel His presence in my life. Times when I step out in faith, making bold moves that require courage. There are times when although the world shakes around me, I stand firm, resting in the promises of God.
Other times, not so much. There are times when the weight of my circumstances crush me. I miss God’s peace, no longer feel His presence, and wallow in self-doubt and pity. I begin to see the world through clouded glasses as I grow distant in my relationship with Christ.
Why such extremes? Just as with climbing, preparedness and consistency is key. When I begin to feel insecure, lonely, and distant in my relationship with Christ, I have four similar factors that must be explored:
- DIET: What is feeding my Christian life? Do I spend time serving and sharing the love of Christ with others? Am I selfless, or selfish? Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. – Romans 12:9-13
- TRAINING: Have I been training and studying God’s Word consistently? Do I spend time studying the Bible, seeking wisdom and understanding? All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God[a]may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17
- CONSISTENCY: Have I consistently spent time with Jesus? Have I carved out time, free from distractions and made my relationship with Him a priority. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. – John 10:27
- RELATIONSHIPS: Have I been satisfied with the status quo? Or have I surrounded myself with godly friends who will hold me accountable and encourage me to go deeper in my walk with Christ. Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come – Hebrews 3:13-14
No matter the circumstances, when I make my walk with Christ a priority, everything else is better. If I focus on serving others, I can heal from the past and stop making everything all about me. If I study God’s word I can gain the wisdom scripture offers and apply it to my circumstances. If I consistently spend time with Jesus, my relationship with Him grows deeper. As a result, I have a better understanding of His will for my life, and I desire to live accordingly. If the most important people in my life love Jesus, I can be sure they will be uplifting, supportive and help me become a better version of myself.
I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. – Psalm 16:8
Consistency in these key areas is as crucial in achieving success in climbing as it is in our everyday walk with Christ. If we want to grow, improve, heal or overcome challenges, proper training and commitment is essential.
It is amazing how we put so many other things before Christ. The truth is, that when Christ is my priority, everything else falls into place. I must remember that next time I want to turn on the TV rather than spend time in the Word and in prayer.