How to develop peak skills

Rock climbing in Lion's Head, Ontario @ May 24...
Image via Wikipedia

Have you ever wanted to climb to great heights, figuratively or literally?  An experience I had could help improve your climbing skills.

A friend invited me to join him and some others on a rock climbing adventure.  I accepted the invitation.  Timing was perfect.  My muscles could handle the stress, my energy itched for the opportunity, and I had nothing better to do.

First, our climb leader shimmied up the sheer rock face and secured our line.  He remained up top to offer guidance and support, since we were all newbies.  I observed the other climbers and thought I had this thing wired.

When my turn arrived,  I began my slow ascent.  The view became closer and more difficult to define.  In other words, my nose touched the rock, and my eyes could only see a few feet around me.  It was tougher than I thought.  My thighs burned from the pain of tightly supporting my whole being in unusual angles.

Then, trouble hit.  I found myself stuck.  I stretched up for the nearest handhold, but could not grab any spot to secure my body.  I tried to reach multiple times, but couldn’t do it.

How terrifying!  I’m in pain, can’t see where to go, and can’t reach the closest possibility.  Dirt itched my nostrils, and the sun burned into my fully exposed body.

Embarrassed and wishing for another alternative, I said to my guide, “I can’t reach anything.”  He looked down over the edge.

“I see where you can go, but you’ll have to trust me,” he said.  “When I count to three, jump.  I’ll pull you up to the next hold.”

What did he say?  Jump?

I had a solid rope connected to my waist with a very detailed harness, but now I clung to a rock 200 feet in the air.  Jump?  Is he joking?

After some back and forth discussion, reality struck.  The only way to move in any direction involved trust.  After a short prayer, I consented to his plan.

“One, two, three,” he shouted.  I pushed off the rock with every piece of my no longer energetic body.  I felt the rope tighten and tense, and watched myself rise up the cliff 6 inches.  There it was, the all important hand hold.  My fingers wrapped around a tiny piece of jutting rock.  My feet scrambled for a place to land and secure my body.  My breathing resumed to relatively normal.

It took only moments, but that time, I learned a new kind of trust; one which would be used with my ultimate Guide multiple times in life.

If God is our Guide and we are the climbers, there are things we can learn from my frozen moment. 

1.  His eyes see more than ours.  In life, we lack the far-sightedness God alone possesses.  How great to have Him as our Guide!

2.  He holds us securely, no matter how exposed we feel.  It doesn’t mean we’ll face no adversity.  He helps us handle whatever life dishes out.

3.  He waits for us to ask for help.  This cannot be underestimated.  If I hadn’t asked for help, I’d probably still be hung up on that rock today.  We may feel embarrassed, but as a poster in one teacher’s class room reads, “The only stupid question is the one never asked.”

4.  His strength pulls us up when our strength fails.  In our do-it-yourself world, we think we’re expected to supply all the strength for any venture God places before us.  The apostle Paul didn’t feel very strong when he said, “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:10.  If he appreciated weakness, so can I.

5.  Real trust involves pushing off the rock.  It’s all well and good to say, “I trust You.” But we prove our trust when we take a risk.  Otherwise, we’re just paying lip service to the lip maker.  When you think of it, that’s just silly.

One ending thought:

If my one rock climbing moment taught me anything, I want the best guide available for whatever life throws my way.  God’s best will never be topped.

“Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.”  Psalm 25:5


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4 thoughts on “How to develop peak skills

    1. Chana, it’s so funny how it happens in life, and we have that trust or don’t trust moment.I’m really looking forward to reading your new book, when can I get a peak?

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