About the Author

Kristen Strong, author of Back Roads to Belonging and Girl Meets Change, writes as a friend offering meaningful encouragement for each season of life so you can see it with hope instead of worry. She and her US Air Force veteran husband, David, have three children and live in Colorado...

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  1. Wow! Well done 🙂 totally in awe of your achievement and especially the way you did it.
    I am ashamed to admit that my recurring mountain to climb is church. Don’t get me wrong I’m thrilled to be part of the Body of Christ and I love the expression of church I’m a part of and most times Sunday mornings are the highlight of my week. It’s just that every now and again I don’t want to be there. I don’t want to be real. I don’t want to be known. I feel like I’m suffocating.
    When that happens I take a week out. I text my friends to pray for me. I go take a walk in the park. I talk with the Lord and allow Him to reassure me. During the week I stay in contact with understanding friends. The following Sunday I arrive late, I hang around at the back and leave early…. I’ve made it back! Sometimes I need a few weeks off, or a few weeks of altered hours.
    I once heard an alternative version of Psalm 23 “The Lord is my pace setter, I shall not rush, He makes me stop and rest for quiet intervals, He restores my soul.” I cling on to my Good Shepherd in those dark times of withdrawal and when I can no loger cling I know He is holding me.
    xx

    • Thank you for sharing so honestly here, Ruth. And thank you for sharing that jewel of a verse! Is that from the Message translation? Oh how I love it.

      Endlessly grateful for you and your words here today…

  2. This is such a good perspective, Kristen. I’m in a place where I am giving up my trying and it’s so good because it’s the realization that I cannot make things be as I want them to be. When we get to the bottom of ourselves we have no where to go but to Him, and if it’s His will He will give us strength. Quitting ourselves is essential to SEE the strength He gives us. YES!

    (I was just in Colorado Springs last month and had time to visit friends . . . and I’m so sad that I didn’t realize/remember you live there!)

    • Waving to you, Amy!

      “Quitting ourselves is essential to SEE the strength He gives us.” ~ I love this because it reminds me that Jesus always is what we are not. I want to see this and know this more and more.

      Thank you for your perspective here, friend. xo

  3. Kristen,
    I love the alternative version of Psalm 23 that Ruth shared…sometimes I defeat myself by thinking that I have to rush into things, completing them in a record setting fashion. I’ve learned with coaching, that sometimes I need to pause – or even stop and take a break for awhile so that I can start back in with renewed energy. If Jesus needed to take time to go away and pray and take a break, how much more so do I need to do that. Thanks for a wonderful post!
    Love and ((hugs)),
    Bev

  4. Love, love, love this…thank you! This really was something I needed to read – so encouraging.

  5. Wow! What a refreshing perspective shift! Thank you!

    I am learning this very lesson as I stretch myself in my workout endeavor. I am absolutely not able to do it like everyone else who is further down the fitness trail than me…but in those moments I take for rest as I feel nausea seek to take over because my heart rate has spiked, I look back for just a moment and realize: “Look how far I have come in 3 months! I must keep going!” Once I shake it off, I pick myself back up and keep moving forward.

    Thank you for this confirming reminder that I am definitely in the right mindset toward my goal of health and strength!

    P.S. Phil 4:13 is what I find myself mentally – and often times, verbally – speaking to myself when it hurts the most! We can do ALL things through Christ who is our strength! Yes!

  6. I can so relate! As part of a leadership group we faced a physical challenge course last fall. Each portion was done as a group, but this past middle-aged, overweight, out of shape grandmother was frightened and lacked trust in herself. As the weekend progressed, I became more confident, more trusting of my group to help when I was weak. They trusted me to help them as well! Every single one of us completed the entire course and left more confident in ourselves and one another. I conquered fear and “the wall” that weekend! My word for 2014 is Conquer, because with faith in God and belief in myself, I can do all things.

  7. Thank you so much for another perspective to think about as we go through our trials in life. I like the concept that if things get too hard, stop, take a break and see how far the Lord has taken you and sometimes you just need to rest to take in all the learning of the new lesson taught in life.

  8. Reading this article and the responses has shown me that I am not alone. I relate to what Ruth said. I was laid off five months ago, I am single and in my late fifties and am at the end of my finances. At times I have been so lost in this journeys as I am separated from my family for my beliefs, that I have pulled away from God, due to unbelievable fear. I been having trouble coping, and so I don’t cope, I withdraw.

    When I have gotten so low or so scared, I have reached out to our Lord Jesus and ask him to carry me for I do not have the strength or courage to carry on. I recite PHI 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. This passage and several others have gotten me through my dark times as the beautiful women In Christ I have met on my journey. They are my encouragement and the ones I can lean on for support and help.

    I thank “In Courage” for these uplifting and encouraging stories.
    Blessings
    Kathy

  9. Thank you for sharing your triumph. I’m jealous a bit over that beautiful view you enjoy there. This was exactly what I needed to hear today. I have been struggling with trials for years and I end up feeling so overwhelmed and just plain tired of being strong and positive. I agree with you that it’s ok to temporarily give up and let God take over.

  10. This is such an encouragement to me. Recently, I have several times where I have “given up.” I know now in those moments to show myself grace, look at how far I have come, and gear up for the next steps. Thanks for sharing your journey with honesty.
    May God bless you with strength to keep moving forward and grace for those moments when you “give up.”

  11. Thank you so much for that wonderful story! It was exactly what I needed to hear this morning!! It’s given me fresh courage to keep going as I ‘give it all up’ to the Lord and ‘rest in Him and keep going’!!!
    Bless you for sharing the ‘insight’ the Lord gave you!!! Loved it!!!
    Blessings on you,
    Sandy

  12. I’m a never give up person. I just get right back up and continue on. Wow. That was a high hike. Used to do these as a teen and then as an adult. I love climbing to the top of a mountain. Takes the breath away though the height.

    I just don’t give up. 🙂

  13. What a wonderful post. Thank you.

    I used to think I had to be busy, busy all day – lie down? I don’t think so!

    Now, I’ve just started to realize that ‘giving up’, for me, means getting OFF the computer, putting the books and phone and dvds away, going up to my beautiful bedroom and just laying there, in silence, opening my mind up to the peace. Not sleeping (though if I do sleep, that’s good, too). Just trying to think positive thoughts and of God and prayers and everything good in my life.

  14. Oh how I needed this today. I was ready to climb back under the sheets and not come out.
    We are told so often “don’t look back” Thank You for seeing why sometimes it is necessary.
    I am in such a better place then this time last year. Praise the LORD.
    I just need to take a breath and ask Papa for His help today.
    Thank You!

  15. This was EXACTLY what I needed to read today. Thank you got posting this. After an asthma flare yesterday, today I need to give up house cleaning and dishes in order to have my quiet time and rest time before going back in the bitter cold to drive my school bus. I also need rest if I want to do my morning workout. Thanks for the reminder that this is okay.

    • First of all: You’re a school bus driver, Jennifer? Then you’re my hero and deserve a maid and kitchen fairies to cover those chores forevermore. And second of all: bravo to you for trading dishes and cleaning for quiet time and rest. Good choice!

      Thank you, Jennifer, for all the ways you serve and love others well. You’re a gift!

  16. When I feel discouraged and dismayed I rush to my pile of Bible verses. I pray with them to cheer me on. I come to my blogs and I feel comforted knowing that I can give up on believe on my own and rest in the arms of the Almighty where I get strrngth to continue on. Thanks for such inspiring story.

  17. Kristen, your message affirms what God has been trying to show me, especially this past week with a crazy schedule. I often felt like going back to bed and pulling the covers over my head. But, as you so beautifully describe, sometimes we have to stop before we can get going again. I even wrote about this on my blog this week (“A Crazy Week” on http://www.simplyablogoflife.com). Thanks for your inspiring words. And congratulations on making it to the top! ‎

  18. I read your post, and have now re-read it. When I have acted on my own, I have made matters worse by rushing in, or on impulse. When I have prayed, and also been desperately seeking, or just seeking, and have changed in the meantime, I have found the giving up, backing off, a do over, gives me a different perspective, learn more, understand more, and know more than before what questions to even ask for wisdom and direction. Some things I would have thought total rubbish, can be valid with greater understanding, or I am more ready to receive the info and more able to put into practice what I am learning, understanding and being directed to.

    It is not my intention to be vague, but in thinking, this has happened many, many times over the years. Even the giving up appears to be passive, but it is not. It is a resting, and a re-grouping to try again, and to be. God is not passive in our giving up, He is working.

    Thank you for your perspective and your lesson learned in giving up.

    • “Even the giving up appears to be passive, but it is not. It is a resting, and a re-grouping to try again…” ~ I agree wholeheartedly. It sounds strange, but I think the right kind of giving up is one of the most courageous things we can do. And for us to wait on God in the resting? Not passive at all.

      Thank you, Joanne!

  19. That is interesting, last week God spoke to me on a similar topic but actually the other way around. I was answering the question: Will I let my past shape my day, or will I let the future shape my day. I can look to whats behind me over and over again, but I can also have hope in what I know about the future. I know Heaven and Eternal Life is awaiting me. And in the process I know that every day God’s desire is to make me more whole and more like Him. When I look to what is behind me I let pain, insecurity, fear lead me. But to get back to your topic and way of looking at it… there are many many times when I look behind me and see how far I have come. It is precious and I know I would not have gotten so far if it were not for God.

    Bless our journeys and perspectives…

  20. Kristen, this is awesome! And God-timed. I was just this minute sitting with tears and my head in my hands ready to give up on this homeschooling thing. A tough day today. I prayed and asked Jesus for a word of reassurance and strength. Then I happened across your post here in my moment of ‘me time.’ Thank you for this encouragement! I can’t tell you how this has pushed me up the mountain. By the way, Phil 4:13 is the verse I chanted over and over with my 6th baby (trying to not give birth in the car!). It was the most surreal moment of peace and no pain. Putting this verse back into the front of my mind today! Adore you, my friend! xo
    PS you’re a rock star for climbing the Incline!

    • No no Karin, *you’re* the rock star for faithfully showing up to love on and teach your babies better than any other woman could. Holding your hand as we chant some Philippians together!

      I just adore you, Karin. You are a gift and then some. xo

  21. What a gem of a post. Thank you for sharing. Although I know it will resonate with many, I feel like God used your voice to speak directly to my heart–these words had a healing quality for me–some much needed outside-of-myself perspective. I will always fall short, will always have so very much to learn… But Jesus and I both know I’m forever grateful that I’m not where I used to be. I am finally un-lost–trying to find (and stay) on the path He’s designed just for me. And the view IS indeed breathtaking when I consider how far I’ve come. Thank you again. And if I ever finally make it to CO to see the people I’ve been aching to visit, I have a goal to add to my bucket list while I’m there.

  22. Great article Kristen! Just like that mountain, the journey ahead of us can be very challenging. I love the analogy and how well you weaved it with life! Many think it is “All or nothing”, and I must confess I still fall into that myself. But taking breaks along the way of what we are called to do, is healthy for us. If we listen to our bodies, give in when it needs rest, push once we’ve been refueled and refreshed, then we can conquer our mountains!
    Blessing and Good Cheer, LauraBeth

    http://www.CheerfulHearts.com

  23. Thank You Kim and Angela for your thoughtfulness and prayers. Your kindness humbles me and lifted me up.

    Blessings,
    Katgy

  24. Snicker Snicker-I love James so much!! I’m glad you made it up and back down safely Sister!! Mwah!!!!

    Meggers

  25. Seriously what an achievement I’m not sure I would have reached the top. I struggle with setting myself goals after growing up being told I fail at everything I’m scared to commit. Yet coming to Christ I can do things if I lean on him.

    • Just keep telling yourself that last sentence, Sara. When you commit to Christ, you can never fail. You are already a winner, already a success because of Him who lives in you.

      Thank you for being here, Sara. Thanks so much.

  26. Thank you Kristen I need to ponder the idea on focusing on how far I’ve come rather than how far I need to go. It would definitely lead me to be able to praise Him more often rather than beseech Him out of my weariness in the journey.

    • A warm wave to you, Denise! I love seeing your face here.

      Well, I’m learning as I go too, friend. It helps to have beautiful women like you to learn alongside. Much love to you and yours.

  27. Kristen, I just love reading your posts. They are so uplifting. Many times while hiking I stop and think I cannot do it. This overweight body will never make it. But then I see how far I have come and think maybe I can. When I reach the top, my husband always cheers me on. Then I look down where I’ve been and think, “Oh no! Now I have to go back down.”

  28. Such a timly post.. Recently got so discouraged .. At mostly things I thought I
    could of prevented, if I woulda, shoulda,
    then it was as if God whispered to me,
    Yes, you’v been here before, but look at how far you have come! Today I made a comment to myself that i’v done a 180 today I said no, i’v done a 360!! Can’t go back, or turn storms away, it’s the knowing
    that I can do all things through Christ,
    because he lives in me, the mystery is so
    great, reassuring, I’m not ever settling for
    just good enough again. So, lately, i’v been resting, resting in Him. Finding confidence to believe though I can’t see ahead, he is already there cheering me on! Posts like these where Christian women gather is a cheering on! Thank you!!!

  29. Very logical, powerful truth, and well spoken, Kristen! Especially appreciated: “Take in the view of how far you’ve come rather than scold yourself for how far you have still to go. Don’t give up for good, just give up long enough to do yourself some good.”

    I’m going to remember that!

  30. I love to go hiking in the mountains. I just love your perspective about looking back & seeing how far you’ve come to realize you can’t give up.

    Many a time I have wanted to just throw in the towel and give up on my job, running plans. At work I can see God working & elevating me to a higher standard. As for my running–I got on treadmill the other day and was able to run a 14 minute mile–about where I was last year. YES, I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST WHO STRENGTHENS ME!!