Pack Some Advil

Written by Gary Taylor

I'm nervous.

It's gonna be about 20 miles of hiking.  I've been warned that there are some steep climbs, and that it is strenuous even for a seasoned hiker.  The trip includes two nights of sleeping in a tent, on a thin mat that couldn't be more opposite of my pillow-top mattress at home. 

Advil tops my list of "what to pack."

I'm not nervous about the presence of rattlesnakes or bobcats.  I'm not nervous about getting lost.  I'm not nervous about running out of food or filtered water.  What I AM nervous about is not finishing. What if I don't have the stamina for this hike?  What if I'm a pansy and want to turn back at the halfway point?

I can see it now: I'm too out of breath to yell ahead for my son to slow down.  I'm flat on my back, our friend/guide standing over me with a quizzical look.  Why do you keep stopping to lay down?

"Why," you may be thinking, "is Gary going on a hike that he may not be able to finish?"  Because I don't want to attempt something that I know I can do on my own.  There are times in life when it's prudent to play it safe, but I don't want this to be one of those times.

This upcoming hike, for me, already points to similarities in my real-life journey.  Namely, "Do I have what it takes?"  One of the fears I consistently face is the fear of not being able to finish what I started.  Part of a faith journey is acknowledging that, in my own strength, I do NOT have what it takes to complete the work God has called me to.

What gives me confidence as I prepare for next week's 20-mile hike and camp is that I'm not hiking alone.  Jack and I are going with someone who has made this hike before; a guide.  Another truth that gives me peace of mind is that my son is in good enough shape to run back and get help if I need it.  I know that sounds funny, but I'm sorta serious.

So I'm trying something new.  I'm attempting something I've never done before.  And I know it's too much for me to do on my own.  But I have a guide, and a guy who is healthier than I.

Everyone, without exception, needs help.  You know that, right?

When I'm telling you that Life Group signups on the patio take place on August 20 and 27, it's because I want you to finish what God has called you to.  And for you to finish, you will need help.  In a Life Group, you build relationships with guides - a person or two who, maybe to your surprise, has walked the exact same path you are most nervous about.  And in that Life Group are people strong enough to run to God and pray for help when you need it.

August 20 and 27: Life Group signups. 
A guide.
Good friends.  
And maybe some Advil, if you need it.