In 1865, the California Geological Survey declared it “perfectly inaccessible, being probably the only one of the prominent points about the Yosemite which never has been, and never will be, trodden by foot.”
It’s the granite mountain peak that stands out above others when you visit Yosemite.
It’s one of the most beautiful, most rewarding, most exhausting and most terrifying hikes you can do in just one day.
The summer before my senior year of college, I worked a camp in Central California. I was twenty-two. It was one of the first times in my life where I knew God had called me to do something unfamiliar. I applied for the job, and I got it. I knew that I was right where God wanted me that summer.
One week during camp, a staff member suggested we all drive to Yosemite and hike Half Dome. I was mortified and nervous all week. I am usually up for adventure, but I also want to make sure I am going to be alive at the end of the adventure to tell about it. The guy who was suggesting we go had done the hike before. I asked him over and over if I was going to make it out alive, and he assured me I would, so I went for it.
An eight mile hike to the top, and then you are faced with cables to climb the rest of the way. Once you reach the cables, the rock is straight up. There is only one set of cables for those going up and coming down. When you meet someone who is coming down, you have to hang on and let them climb around you. The person coming down is coming straight down, so their safety is even more important than yours in that moment.
This was a crazy adventure. This was physically the craziest thing I have ever done. The night before we left I almost talked myself out of it. I decided to do it because the others who had hiked it before described how much it helped them grow personally.
I don’t think I experienced personal growth from it until after I gave birth to my second daughter. After I had Selah, I experience irrational fears and anxiety. Everything in life started feeling too hard and scary. I wasn’t thriving. I was barely even surviving.
About nine months after Selah was born, I thought back to the day I hiked Half Dome. I remembered that being scared of the world isn’t who I am.
I looked back at what my life looked like at the time I was able to be so brave, and a few things stuck out to me:
- I was completely content where God had me
- I was finding joy in life everyday, even if everyday was not that great
- I had great friendships and close community
- I was studying God’s word and journaling everyday
When I looked at this list, I realized the only thing I still had were close friends (and now also a wonderful husband). With the craziness of a newborn and a two-year-old, I was not content. I did not have time to study God’s word and journal. I barely had time to eat and I rarely slept. And I was not finding joy everyday.
It’s hard to find joy and be content when life is hard. It’s even harder to find joy and be content when we are exhausted day in and day out. But it is possible. And when we choose to find joy and be content where God wants us, that’s when we also find our courage. And with God, there are no mountains too high to climb.
Are you trying to climb a mountain right now? Are you climbing alone or with God?