As High as I Thought I Would Go

The other day I went Rock Climbing with some friends. One of my friends at the end of the day said something to me that has been ringing in my ears ever since. He said, “I went as high as I thought I would go.”

I applaud him for coming. Unlike others that I have taken, he faces a tremendous fear of heights. He came along reluctantly but wanted to face his fears and stretch out of his comfort zone. He did this bravely.

In spite of my admiration of him facing his fears head-on, his words keep tumbling around in my brain without respite and occasionally fall down and bounce off my heart.

This is the story –

We started the beautiful day just as the sun was rising.  We arrived in Big Cottonwood Canyon at about 7:30 a.m. and crossed the river to a group of climbs called “The Slips.” After tying in I belayed one of my friends Zac up a casual 5.7.  He climbed it with ease and set up a toprope. I cleaned the climb (unhooking all of the quickdraws off of the rock} and collected them on a strap around my chest. Once finished, Zac belayed me back down.

Since the climb was secure and we were now toproped, I felt comfortable explaining the “3 Rules of Rock Climbing” so that we could begin the fun with our friends that were new to climbing.  The rules were explained and our Australian friend tied-in.  Without much effort at all our Australian friend scurried up the rock like a squirrel, adroitly adept to climbing.

Then it was his turn.  He got a great start and seemed to climb fairly effortlessly.  I didn’t feel that he was sketchy at all until he hit the crux of the climb, which was about 12-15 feet up.  He felt around for some holds and tried to get his feet in the “right crack” but nothing seemed to be working.  At this point Elvis seemed to possess his leg(s). He called out, “Resting.” I responded “Rest-On” and locked the rope down in my belay device.

He rested for a minute letting Elvis leave his body (otherwise known as the sewing machine leg). After his brief rest he got back on the rock and tried again.  Again, the crux seemed to get the best of him. After this second try, he declared that he wasn’t going to make it any higher and needed to come down. Before letting him descend, I tried to encourage him and let him know that he could do it, but I could tell my effort was in vain based on how serious he was with his next request to be lowered.

We all took another climb and his boldness to face his challenge was renewed.  We had set up another toprope next to our original climb on a 5.6, which is one degree of difficulty lower.  In my mind I thought that this second, easier climb, wouldn’t be a problem for him because the holds were larger and there wasn’t a real crux.

Again I belayed and again at the 15 foot mark he slowed until he was frozen on the rock (except for the Elvis leg). I offered a brief yet futile assurance that he could make it to the top. After assuring me that he was at his limit, I lowered him back down. I was actually impressed with his desire to overcome his fears and his effort toward that goal, but my paradigm changed radically after he made the comment:

“I made it as high as I thought I would go.”

“As high as I thought I would go.“ In essence, he told me that he had a predetermined concept of how high he would go and made it to that exact point, 15 feet up.

I can’t help but question what would have happened if he had believed that he could reach 20 feet, or even just 16 feet. What would have happened if he thought he would climb the full 90 feet? He is physically very strong and in great shape. There is no physical reason why he couldn’t make it.  Did the “thought” become his glass ceiling? Was the notion the limit? Did the preconception determine his destiny?

How many times in my life do I go as high as I think I will?  How much higher will I go if I just believe that I can attain one more step or even reach the top? How many times could I have gone higher if I just thought that the top was where I belonged?

Do we all do this to ourselves? Do we limit ourselves with our minds and let untapped potential and greatness slip by. Do we miss the amazing view from the top of the climb because we just don’t believe we can make it there? How happy is Satan when we he sees us buying-in to the thought that we can only make it 15 feet up and no higher?

Do our beliefs become our goals? Are our goals based on fear or faith? Do we believe that we have the potential to reach great heights? Do we know that with the Lord we can overcome whatever crux is before us and go higher than we ever have before? Do we see ourselves as God sees us? Can we overcome life’s challenges and reach the ultimate elevated destination – Heaven, and live with Him again?

Elder Richard G. Scott said this in an article in the Nov. 2003 Ensign:

“With all my capacity I encourage you to discover who you really are. I invite you to look beyond the daily routine of life. I urge you to discern through the Spirit your divinely given capacities. I exhort you to prayerfully make worthy choices that will lead you to realize your full potential.”

I know that I have let my fears determine my altitude. I am working on seeing myself as God sees me and believing in Him the way He believes in me. I will visualize myself making it to the top, and I know that I don’t have to climb alone.

Written by curtism in: Christ,My Experiences | Tags: , , , ,

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