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I can trip over nothing and not walk in a straight line. When we are out and about and I want to look around and not always look where I’m going, I grab the arm of the person next to me. Hopefully, I know them!! Walking along a sidewalk and walking trails can be hazardous to my health and potentially anyone in my path!

A couple of weeks ago I volunteered at a SAG station for a bike ride/fundraiser. As the bikers stopped and rested, I might have drooled over some of the bikes. I struck up a conversation with one on the bikers. The bike he was riding was one of three. His favorite was his trail bike. I laughed out loud. Not at him, but at the vision of me trying to bike trails. I rarely walk a trail without tripping a few times, let alone riding a bike! Yeah, probably not a good idea for me! 

While on vacation, we walked several trails. My son and I were walking a trail that led to a waterfall. It was a rather rocky, steep, narrow hike down to the valley. Because of my lack of coordination and tendency to trip often, my head was down watching where I was going and taking careful steps along the way. We had been trudging along when we reached a flatter area of the trail, I looked up and stopped in my tracks.

As I stood still, I could hear birds singing, leaves rustling in the wind, squirrels scurrying from one tree to the next, the rustling of unseen wildlife around me. The vision of tall trees, green foliage, the side of a cliff exposed and the openness of the valley added to my senses of beauty. 

My son turned around wondering why I had stopped. “Stop and look around. Look at the beauty you see.” I wanted to pop a squat on a rock or log and stay awhile. Being surrounded by His beauty overwhelmed me with peace, indescribable peace. 

As we continued walking down in the valley, I glanced up and saw a stream of sunlight. I followed the light up, through the trees and found the sun. The beam of sunlight cast a beautiful reflection on everything it touched. I took a couple of pictures, but it didn’t do it justice. There are some beauties that can not be reproduced and only enjoyed in the moment. 

On a spiritual level, valleys have a tendency to bring to the forefront of our minds a dark time in our life. Even scripture says, “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.” Doesn’t sound so pleasant or uplifting. Unless, you dig a little deeper, look outside of the shadow and see His light.

Walking through spiritual valleys is unavoidable. Growth, wisdom and maturity are gained during valley experiences. Also, having the mind of Christ anchors our soul during our darkest times. The world around us can quickly tug us down and into darkness. If it’s unavoidable, how do I navigate the valley to work my way up and out into His Light?

Excellent question!

When I have entered the “rough terrain” of my mind, I become focused on avoiding the next root or rock in my path that could trip me up. While watching each step you take is a survival instinct, pausing to look up and around is just as important. When faced with rough terrain, I have a tendency to put my head down and push through. This is a life skill that might be ingrained into my being from my parental families. Some may call it stubborn or strong willed. I prefer to call it dedicated and determined. No matter the terminology, surviving becomes a singular focus. Putting my head down and watching my every step is of great importance to keep moving forward, so is pausing and taking a look around.

In my head down and push through mode, I have a tendency to get a wee bit frustrated. Looking down, I can’t see the forest for all the trees. When I finally pause and look up, I can see my surroundings and His Light gleaming through all of the trees. 

Pausing and looking around in the valley gives perspective and sheds light on how far you’ve come. I have moved further from the shadow than I realized and I’m standing in brighter light than where I was before. The valley has opened up and my path has less rocks and roots ready to trip me up. My frustration dissolves and I’m flooded with His peace. Yes, peace in the valley where I will fear no evil. 

Valley hikes are rugged, twisted, rocky, narrow and hard. Take heart, He has overcome the world. He is your Light. He opens up the valley so you can see how far you’ve come, where you are and where He is leading you. No valley is too deep or dark for His Light. The simple movement of looking up reveals His Light and your next step. 

You are never alone in the valley. He is right there with you, holding your hand to help balance your next step. And, like my son who was there with me, encouraging me to keep coming, you have others cheering you on, encouraging you to take your next step. Valleys are hard. Take a minute and look up and see His beauty that surrounds you and be overcome by His peace. 

Thanks for sharing a moment with me. We are in this together, walking through a valley, in Him

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