I can remember a period of time, for about a year, that I was sunk deep in the valley of my life.
Y’all know what I’m talking about? Sometimes it feels like we’re on the mountaintops and sometimes we’re in the valley, emotionally and spiritually.
My time in the valley that I remember the most was right after a pretty bad break up. I was bitter, I was unhappy, I felt like nothing was going my way. There were so many people and things that (unreasonably) frustrated me. And I also definitely wasn’t where I needed to be in my walk with God. I can specifically remember a day after I had come out of my valley my mom said, “You’ve been much happier lately than you used to be”. And I was kind of confused, because most of the time, we begin to sink without even realizing it. I hadn’t realized how far back I had fallen.
On the other side, I’m on a mountaintop right now. I’ve been frolicking through the gently rolling hills of my low-stress, carefree, everything-is-going-my-way, season of life for a while now. All is well in Betsy’s little world.
I love my hilltop. I’d much rather be prancing up the mountainside than drying out in the desert valley below. I like when things go my way, don’t you? As I’ve mentioned, I know what it’s like to be in the valley. I know what it feels like to sink.
Mountaintop beats valley. Every time.
It’s takes little effort to tumble into our valleys, and it takes almost everything we’ve got (with a lot of God’s help) to climb back up to the mountain peaks. It was hard to pull myself back up to this peak, so heck, I’m going to enjoy myself while I’m up here.
But something I’ve noticed is, when I’m strolling through my hilltops, my life may be going good, but it may be less Godly… which leads into my main thought:
THE 4 STAGES OF THE MOUNTAINTOP, WHY IT’S DANGEROUS, AND HOW TO FIX IT:
1. We Forget Our Need For God
When life is hard, when anxiety sets in, and worries creep up, we often find ourselves crying out to God in our desperate need. We recognize our desperation for God when we have slid down to the end of our rope, when we’re struggling to hold on to the loose ends. However, when life is easy, we tend to forget God. It’s harder to see how essential God’s power is to our life because it appears as though we’re doing fine on our own.
2. We Get Arrogant
When we reach the mountaintop, we forget that we would’ve remained in that valley if it had not been for God’s grace and love. Most of the time, my mountaintop makes me selfish. I forget to pray, I forget to read my Bible. I’m “doing good enough” so I’ll save all that for when “I really need it” (as if I can really do anything on my own).
3. We Slip
Satan likes to attack when we have our guard down. We are the most susceptible to believe lies and to fall into temptation when we think we can handle life alone. He sees you drifting away from God, and that’s exactly when he’s going to creep in and wedge his way in between the two of you.
4. We Fall
This is pretty obvious, but we just tumble back down into our valley. We let go of God’s hand, we tried to manage on our own, the devil wedged his way in, and here we are back at the bottom. Maybe we allowed the temptation to overcome us because we weren’t as focused on God anymore. Or maybe anxiety seeped back into our hearts because we tried to do things on our own that we can’t accomplish without God. Whatever the case may be, this is where we’re left: drying out in our desert valley.
We forgot God, we got arrogant, we slipped, and we fell. So back here in the valley we are.
And it seems to be an endless, exhausting cycle.
So here’s my solution: Daily Bible study and prayer should be so routine in your life, that your circumstances don’t affect their consistency. You can be crying out to God in the valley or singing praises to Him on the hilltops, but the different seasons of your life should not change your devotion to God. Remember where you were before, and try to recognize where God intervened and pulled you up to where you are now. Recognize that it’s thanks to God, and Him alone, that you are back up on top of the mountain.
My mountaintop is a great and wonderful place to be, but the ease of my life should not affect my reliance on God. I may think I’m doing fine on my own, but in reality, I’ve never done a single thing solely by my own strength. If you recognize that you are completely nothing without your gracious and merciful God, the endless cycle of valleys and hilltops won’t seem so steep.
Be intentional with your relationship with God. It’s not something to cling to only when you’re sad, it is a daily walk alongside Christ that lasts through all the changing circumstances of life.