“He makes me as surefooted as a deer, enabling me to stand on mountain heights.” – Psalm 18:33
Your hand fingers for the hold above and just out of your reach, wiggling higher, searching for something better to rest on. Your right foot is too low to really use. Your left foot, weighted on a tiny quartz crystal, pushes you slightly upward. There might be enough purchase on these holds, but you’re out of balance, and the good holds seem too far. Your legs start to wiggle. Your forearms pump. You want to give up.
The Psalm is not God’s promise of “I will give you bomber footholds and make everything easy.” It is instead a promise that we can be confident in what we do have, and have faith in our God-given abilities to overcome challenges and reach great heights.
When fear paralyzes us, it’s easier to step down from the progress we’ve made than to continue climbing when the way gets difficult. Our greatest challenges often require strength and stamina, but most of all, we need to have faith. When we have faith, we can still try our hardest—even when we’re feeling weak.
Having faith isn’t avoiding falling, coming down when things get a little bit uncomfortable. Faith also isn’t blindly going for it when your decision may be a detriment to yourself or others.
Observe your inner voice’s questions of doubt and fear, as well as the possibilities of success and joy. Having faith is a calculated risk, knowing you’ve done what you can in your ability, and knowing you could fall—but if you do, you will be safe and learn something from it.
Falling is inevitable when you’re outside of your comfort zone. It can be terrifying. It may hurt. But when you’ve done all your safety checks, you know your experienced belayer is ready, and you truly believe you can do it—you will not hit the ground. When you’ve processed through all this, only see yourself succeeding. Don’t continue to dwell on the “but I could fall” mentality. You will either move past the crux, or you will be caught. Both you will learn from.
You will succeed—whether this time or the 38th time trying. If you really want to finish this climb and reach the summit, you are willing to fall as many times as it takes to move past it.
Faith is knowing you can fall, but you cannot fail. If you decide to come down for whatever reason, that’s ok. But you can try hard. You have to try hard—just don’t forget to breathe.