They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I’ve found that to be so true. I took this picture during a bike ride this week; the more I look at it, the more it speaks to me. I strongly believe that it represents so much about my journey—and possible your own.
I’d just passed the 8-mile mark and was approaching the massive bike overpass at state road 434. Truthfully, I didn’t stop to take that picture; I stopped because I was winded. I’ve crossed this overpass before; on at least two occasions it has worn me out. I know I can walk to the top of it, but for some reason I always ride. I looked at that overpass, feeling so tired and sweaty, wondering if I should attempt it or turn around. I pulled out my phone to take a picture, and as I gazed into the camera lens my entire viewpoint suddenly changed.
Yes, I wanted to get to the other side of the overpass; I just wasn’t sure I wanted to pay the price of getting over it. That sign in the picture directed me to a path on the left of the bridge which was flat and void of challenge. I was tempted to take the easy way; I had already ridden 8 miles! Surely that would be ok! The simple fact that I was having this debate told me that not choosing the hill was the wrong choice. So I gathered momentum and rode straight up the hill. I was barely moving, but I made it. I was over the hump and riding through the most beautiful section of the trail.
I felt great. I felt victorious.
So what does that picture say about my ride? My life? Your life?
1. There is always a “hill” separating you from where you want to be. There are hills of addiction, unforgiveness, past regrets, fear, doubt, lack of self-control, on and on. You really want to be on the other side!
2. The hill is smaller in reality than it is in our mind. The greatest challenge that the hill presents to us is our own mind. When I conquered that hill, my greatest struggle wasn’t pedaling up the hill, it was when I looked at it and thought about the climb.
3. The hill shows up when we are weak. Many times the “hill” doesn’t present itself when we are strong and full of energy, but when we are tired and lack motivation. Here is the big key: even though you lack motivation, just do it! You will find that “Actions bring motivation more times than motivation brings action! I was very tired when that hill met me on the bike path. But on the other side of that hill, I was full of power and inspiration. Act and you will motivate yourself!
4. The lazy man’s way will always present itself. When you are ready to face the challenge, something will try to get you to take the easy way out. How many times has someone talked someone out of taking a risk? I think of the movie “Rudy,” and the scene when Rudy’s father tried to keep Rudy from attending Notre Dame University. What “sign” is trying to steer you away from the hill that you really need to climb?
5. You can never truly see what’s on the other side of the hump. You might know where it leads, but at first you can only see the climb, not the other side. If you are going to charge your hill, you have to see things that you can’t see with your natural eyes. If all you see are the two jobs you’re working while you try to climb the corporate ladder, you may lose faith and strength. Picture the other side even when you cant see it! It will give you strength to climb.
6. When the hill feels too big, remember that you only have to climb half of it. Halfway through it you will find it gets easier; you can clearly see the finish line and gravity is pulling you faster than you can peddle. You might you be looking at 4 years of college, feeling like that’s a long time. Just imagine how you’ll feel when you are halfway through your junior year and almost a senior! Momentum will help move you toward the finish line! In fact the best part of the ride is on the other side of the hill.
7. The hill is not just an obstacle; it is a bridge to the new life that you want and desire! In the end it can, and will, deliver you to where you really want to go. How many of you have braved a bad job to only find out that, that particular job led to a much better job.
8. The hill never goes away! You may not decide to cross it this time, but if you want to get to your destiny you will have to cross it eventually. Maybe your bridge to freedom is a conversation with a loved one who offended you. Do it today or do it tomorrow, but if you want to get to the other side you will have to have that conversation. Our hills don’t go away. We eventually decide to cross them to avoid them. Please cross yours today or tomorrow, but cross it!