As I started out this year, my personal theme was stretching beyond my limits. I longed to do something new and something different. I was yearning to challenge myself like never before. I wanted to test my limits as a way of stretching my limits. And so it was with gusto that I embarked on preparing to climb a mountain.
About a year and a half ago, no one would have told me that I could climb a mountain. I was not in the right physical or mental state to climb an anthill, let alone a mountain. The most exercise I did was walking from my bedroom to my car and back. By the end of last year though, God had enabled me transform my life to the point that I was eating healthy and exercising regularly – something that was previously totally the very opposite of who I was.
That is what partly propelled me to take it to the next level and challenge myself even more. Fast forward to today, this year I have gone bungee jumping and I have climbed three of the highest mountains in Uganda. While I am proud of these feats, there has been a strong feeling at the back of my mind, that I still have one more major mountain to climb – and that is me.
I struggle with many personal issues. I am not always confident. Sometimes I battle a poor self-image and low self-esteem. I wrestle with fear – fear of stepping out, fear of speaking out, fear of standing out (like a sore thumb) and fear of failure. Sometimes when I am given a task that I think is bigger than me; my first instinct is to want to run away. I prefer the safe and the comfortable. Sometimes I let other’s negative opinions of me affect the way I think about myself. I struggle with insecurity. I question my intellect, I question my creative ability, I question my worth, and I question my intrinsic value.
I know I have to overcome these inner battles. I have to get out of my own way and let myself bloom and flourish. I have to reprogram my mind away from the negative towards the positive and the empowering. I have to watch my thoughts and my self-talk. I have to see myself with new eyes. I have to see myself with God eyes. I have to know and appreciate who He made me. I have to rest in the fact that I am not perfect, but I am perfect as I am. Not that I don’t have to grow or get better, but that I have to embrace and enjoy who I am. I have to like me.
I need to use the lessons I learned climbing the physical mountains to help me climb my mental mountains. Lessons like, mountains may seem impossible, but they are surmountable; lessons like staying focused on the goal; lessons like mountains are climbed one step in front of the other for there is no other way – in order to get through, you have to walk through. You don’t climb a mountain by avoiding it; you face it head on and climb. Lessons like, mountains are not to be dreaded, but to be embraced, for there is beauty in struggle, there is growth, there is strength.
I have to notice when I am my biggest obstacle to my progress, when I am the mountain in my own way. I have to free myself from myself. I have to free myself to be myself.