When you’ve been this way before…

Reposting from Instagram — Original Post 2/10/20 (pre-COVID, wow!)

Yesterday I went hiking at a park I’d never been to and God met me there.

If you want 17 metaphors for life, keep reading. 😅

First of all, I went to the wrong place. It wasn’t entirely wrong, it just wasn’t where I wanted to go. It was a hiking trail but it wasn’t the beautiful trail around the lake that I was looking for. I knew I was not at my intended destination but I got out of the car anyway and started walking because it “would be fine” and it was my fault for not doing better research. About 5 minutes in, I remembered that I could turn around and go find the place I was searching for. I drove well over an hour to get there and I didn’t have to settle for the flat, easy, boring, crushed gravel path that I was on.

I got back in the car and drove to my intended destination. But once again, I had trouble finding the trail. Nothing was marked well and maps make zero sense to me. (Although somehow, in 2002-2008, I navigated the entire city of Nashville with a Mapsco. 🤷🏻‍♀️)

Panic overwhelmed me.

I was feeling so anxious because I felt like I was making a mistake, that I was wrong, and it’s not okay to not know where you’re going. I literally had to repeat over and over — you have nowhere else to be and no one is judging you, Sarah.

After asking for directions two times, I found the trail. Whew! Relieved.

But the trail was nothing like what I expected. It was hardly marked and was just boulders and rocks everywhere. How do I even navigate this? I’m not even a hiker! Panic again. “This is not what I planned for. I’m not smart enough for this. I don’t know know how far it is or where I am supposed to end up. They didn’t give me a map for the trail (but I can’t read maps so who cares). Am I even going the right way? There are no markers or signs. I don’t want to do this alone. I can’t do this.” And repeat.

I got to a really beautiful quiet spot on the lake and sat very still and asked God to show me why I was feeling so overwhelmed and fearful. He kindly showed me that 1) I’ve never been this way before and 2) it wasn’t what I expected and 3)…

I was alone.

I got up and kept walking. My confidence was growing with every step in this uncharted territory. Occasionally I would pass someone else and it reminded me that I wasn’t alone and other people are on this path, too. I found the end of the trail and the bathroom (the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow) and felt really proud.

Then I turned around and walked back. This time, I was moving so much faster and my heart wasn’t racing anymore. The trail was still rough but the fear was completely dispelled because —

I have been this way before.

As I approached the end of the trail, which was also where I began, God clearly spoke to me and said, “When you’ve been this way before, you get to walk other people home.” ❤️

Mineral Wells State Park taught me these things:

1. Don’t settle. It doesn’t matter how or why you got there. Don’t be afraid to turn around so that you can get to where you always meant to go.

2. Ask for help. Someone else has been here before and they know the way.

3. Be aware of your expectations and the power they have over your feelings.

4. You have everything you need. Maps are overrated.

5. Someone else needs you to walk them home.

Back again in September 2020