The dark forest surrounds you. The leaves rattle harder but the winds remain still. You're not alone. Shadows in the forest lay just outside your path. Knowing the darkness you came from going back isn't an option. Staying in the forest isn't an option. Pushing forward is in the only option.
The path oddly seems lit. The grass covered bricks appear to glow in the moonlight. Here you're safe.
The echos of a deep rumble from the trees remind you of the dangerous situation you're in. "Just stay the course, don't stop." Your heartrate is calm and unaffected by what's around you. Your mind is well aware of the shadows stalking you from the inside darkness. It's unclear of what they are. Their intention is clear, kill and destroy. Naturally aware of your surroundings - in boldness you decide not to give into fear. No matter where you came from- you want better. You deserve happiness. With each step you're closer to the future you've dreamt of. The path ahead shines with warmth of the rising sun. Quickly you press on. Hurriedly your steps carry you. The sounds of the forest now faded into complete silence.
The forest opens into an expansive meadow. The tall grass shines a golden hue with the rising sun. With the forest now behind you, you let out a deep sigh. Thankful to have faced your fear. Free. Delivered. Safe. A smile beams from your face in joy with pure peace around you. A warm breeze blows around you shifting through your hair.
You made it!
After resting in the peace and uncomfortable realization comes to you. This is not your destination. There's nothing here for you. The meadow as peaceful as it is, is empty. A hunger burst through your soul longing for more.
In the horizon a path leading up a mountain catches your eye. You sigh a heavy and defeated sigh but your spirit pulls you to the path. Knowing you can't grow without a challenge, you follow the spirit. The path is wide and gradual as it climbs the mountain.
Proud of yourself for not settling for decent enough your determination carries you up the mountain. The path begins to narrow as loose rocks begin to fall from under your feet. Aware of the dangers each step is lead with caution and thought. With each step you grow closer to the top. The path is now just wide enough for a decent walk as long as caution is used. The path leads up to a small plateau just wide enough to rest your weary feet.
In a moment you reflect on your journey, in boldness you stepped out of a lifestyle that entrapped you. The only path to victory lead you through the dark forest as the darkness tempted you to turn back. Remembering the beauty of the meadow and the sun's warmth on your skin your souls felt restful. Still, there was something greater ahead for you that's lead you into this moment. Here, you rest on the cliff of a mountain. The cold breeze blows around the mountain. God wouldn't bring you out of the meadow and leave you on the side of a cold mountain. The steps on the path were treacherous to get here. To turn back would certainly be deadly. One mis-step would lead to a fall undoubtedly ending in death. Now rested, your curiosity is fueled. What is my future? Where is God taking me? Would he bring me here just to leave me on this cliff? Your spirit begins to call out to your soul once again. There's more. There's got to be more.
With caution you stand up ready to face your next challenge. Looking ahead you stop with a deep breath. The once narrow path has disappeared. Protruding rocks now expose a path to the top. You can see it! You're almost there. With courage and caution you plan your first step. Another rock catches your eye. With your hands and feet firmly secured, you step out to test the security of the new rock. It's solid. Shifting your weight onto the rock another foothold comes into view. Becoming secure in your weight and footing, you stretch out to reach the new step. It's solid. Shifting your weight you find a new balance on the rock just as another rock protrudes from the rocky surface. Confidently you find your balance and stretch out to get a new placement on the mountain. The rocks begin to crumble beneath your feet. The spirit calls out to you, "Just hold on." With your hands still secure a new placement catches your attention. Holding on the ground beneath you suddenly steals your attention. Gasping to catch your breath, the spirit speaks again "I have a plan for you, a plan of greatness, peace, and great joy. A plan not to harm you but to lift you up into your full potential. This isn't your end. Just hang on."
With that boost of confidence, you pull yourself up just enough to reach the new rock. Solid! Finding a new grip you pull your other leg into place to find a new security on the rocky service. Your heart is racing. Your face is beaming with joy and unbelief of what you had just done. Remembering the safety of the meadow, you now feel bolder, stronger, and able to reach unimaginable heights. God is good. The spirit rejoices with you as you catch your breath. The cool breeze reminds you of where you are and the potential dangers around you. The last rock only proved the results of a single mis-step.
Looking around to find your next step you see the a plateau just above you. You easily reach out to get a firm grasp and pull yourself up to safety. Laying back you see crisp clouds cluttering the clear blue sky. The warmth of the sun shines bright as the cool gentle breeze blows.
Jumping to your feet in victory your heart rested, your spirit rejoices. Your new boldness and confidence rising up within you. The cries of a distant eagle breaks the silence. The plateau spans beyond what you can see. Trees line up in the distance as their leaves glitter in the sun. A river flows across the plateau falling down over the rocky cliffs in the distance. The beauty of this place encourages peace and completion.
Turning back to your conquered cliff the meadow captures your attention. That's where you were. Satisfied with your decision not to settle for decent enough, you were thankful for the rest and safety it provided but confident in your decision to move on.
What once felt like the end, was only the beginning. The forest that once seemed so large and overwhelming is now just a speck in the landscape. Birds fly over the trees as the sun casts a bright light over it's now glittering canopy. The path that once challenged you isn't visible, but your accomplishments during that hardship has brought you to where you are.
You are stronger.
You are bolder.
You are a better version of who you were.
My friends, life isn't always going to be easy. If you choose to follow the spirit He will bring you out of darkness to become the BEST version of yourself. Don't give up in your defeats or fear. Your past doesn't need to also be your future. Plan your steps with God and he will carry you through impassable situations. He will bring you to new heights beyond anything you could ever imagine.
Your sister in Christ,