Thursday, August 23, 2007

Give me this mountain...

Some dreams are "sprint" dreams. You see the goal, it's not too far off, and if you make up your mind and set your heart like flint to get there, you can actually reach the goal in a pretty short amount of time. Maybe even just a few months. Like losing 10 pounds, or saving up for a week of diving in Cozumel.

I've come to realize lately that my current dreams are not sprint dreams. They're mountain dreams. They're 14'ers. It does no good to sprint toward dreams like that; you'll just wear yourself out long, long before you get anywhere close to the goal. Nope. To reach a 14'er dream, you've got settle in, take lots of water, and start hiking. Plodding, really...in a slow, measured, consistent, day in and day out kind of way. I once read someone describe this approach as a "long, steady obedience in the same direction." It may take years to reach a 14'er dream. Like getting out of debt, for instance. Building a business until it is self-sustaining, for another. Or losing 100 pounds...or more.

To take on a mountain dream, you really have to count the cost. It's not going to come fast. It's going to take a very long while to get there. You just have to accept that, gather the supplies you'll need to go on a long haul to the heights, then settle in and start hiking. One step each day. And the next. And the next. My buddy Gandalf reminded me yesterday that the word translated "endurance" in James chapter 1 literally means "to remain under." That's what it takes to make it all the way to the peak of your mountain dream. You've got be willing to "remain under" the longing and keep letting it pull you forward, day after day, one step at a time, for as long as it takes to get there.

It's great to have sprint dreams. They're a great rush for your soul; and they get you places--often beautiful places. But I think in the grand scheme of life its the mountain dreams within us--those imposing, daring 14'ers of the heart--that really make life sing. And more powerfully define what courage and bravery are all about.

Thinking of this reminds me of Caleb--a great example of the sort of courage I'm talking about:

The people of Judah came to Joshua at Gilgal. Caleb son of Jephunneh spoke:

"You'll remember what GOD said to Moses the man of God concerning you and me back at Kadesh Barnea. I was forty years old when Moses the servant of GOD sent me from Kadesh Barnea to spy out the land. And I brought back an honest and accurate report. My companions who went with me discouraged the people, but I stuck to my guns, totally with GOD, my God. That was the day that Moses solemnly promised, 'The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance, you and your children's, forever. Yes, you have lived totally for GOD.'

"Now look at me: GOD has kept me alive, as he promised. It is now forty-five years since GOD spoke this word to Moses, years in which Israel wandered in the wilderness. And here I am today, eighty-five years old! I'm as strong as I was the day Moses sent me out. I'm as strong as ever in battle, whether coming or going. So give me this mountain that GOD promised me...If GOD goes with me, I will drive them out, just as GOD said."

Joshua blessed him. He gave Hebron to Caleb son of Jephunneh as an inheritance.
(Joshua 14:6-13)

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