Climbing Your Very Own Mount Everest

My 18-month-old daughter has already learned how to climb mountains. To me, they look more like wooden chairs packed loosely around the kitchen table. But to her, they look like mountains.

She’ll hoist herself up, grunting and panting the whole way, until she finally pulls her entire body onto the seat. Then she’ll twist and maneuver herself (and grunt a little more) until she’s sitting on top, victorious. The sense of pride that radiates from her wide grin and big baby blues can only be matched by those who thrust their flag into the peak of Mt. Everest.

But then—at some point—it’s time to get down.

And that’s another story.

The first time she tried to dismount the four-legged mountain, she scooted off of it feet first—just like we’d taught her to do with stairs.

“On your bottom,” I would instruct as we reached the top of the stairs. “And scoot, scoot, scoot…”

Little did she realize that the distance from the top of the chair to the ground was much different than from one step to another. But, alas, her courageously ambitious heart tried anyway.

When her little legs didn’t quite reach the ground as she pushed herself off the chair, she free-floated for a second. In my mind, she got quite a lot of hang time as I ran to her in slow motion shouting, “NOOOOOOO!”

Finally, after about five or six minutes suspended in the air, her tiny toes hit the tile floor and bounced her onto her face.

For a long time after that, she refused to even attempt getting down by herself. Who could blame her? Instead, every time she’d climb the mountain, she’d beg and plead for Mommy to help her off of it. And she climbed up there a lot, let me tell you. A LOT.

So, finally, after days of being shackled to the kitchen, I decided to teach her a new way to do it by herself.

“Turn around,” I said. “On your belly. Then slide.”

At first, she was hesitant. Those innocent eyes plead for me to watch over her and I could almost hear her cry, “What if I fall again?”

But with lots of prodding, she finally flipped over on her belly and started sliding off the seat feet-first. Her toes stretched as far as they could, trying to sensor where the ground was. Her little baby knuckles turned white as they clutched the opposite edge of the chair. Her terrified eyes stared straight into the wooden flecks where someone’s bottom had been.

She was getting there. Her pointed toes were only a quarter of an inch away from safely landing on the floor. She just couldn’t see it.

So she pulled herself all the way back up, grunting and panting all the more after holding her own body weight with the tips of her fingers for so long.

“You were almost there!” I shouted, trying to encourage her to do it again—and to go all the way through with it this time.

In that moment, I realized how many times I had attempted a goal, but somewhere along the way had backed out. My toes stretched so far, my soles cramped. I prayed desperately for my destination to be right there, hoping beyond hope my feet would meet tile and I could say I had accomplished what I set out to accomplish.

The end could have been right there, waiting for me.

I just couldn’t see it.

So, out of fear of those bumps and bruises, I pulled myself all the way back, leaving the goal even further out of reach.

I imagine God watching over me, cheering me on during my climb. I can almost feel His big heart thumping against His God-sized chest every moment I slide closer to achieving my dreams—then sinking when I pull myself away from them.

“You were almost there!” I can hear Him say with encouragement.

I look at Him with pleading eyes, begging Him to watch over me, and my fearful heart cries, “What if I fall again?”

He looks upon me with compassion, then continues to call me to the task. Until finally, one day, solely through trusting the supernatural provision and protection of my Father, my feet finally land.

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