Hills and Valleys

“For God is not a God of confusion, but of peace…” (I Corinthians 14:33)

At 9 in the morning, the Indian Mounds was bursting with life. I stood at the edge of the rocky ledge, staring down through the lush greenery to catch what little glimpse I could of the rushing water below. The birds were singing. The bugs were creaking out their song in tune to the leaves rustling in the morning breeze. The sunlight glittered on the waterfall and the rapids. It was a little humid; but even directly under the sun’s light, it wasn’t too hot yet. A smile crept its way onto my face as I took it all in.

“No matter what I have, Your grace is enough
No matter where I am, I’m standing in Your love”

The past couple of weeks have been pretty overwhelming. It’s not so much that I’ve had a lot going on in life (especially since quitting the worse of my two summer jobs). But there’s definitely been plenty going on in my head.

Part of it is that I am, by nature, just a very emotional and dramatic person. Things that really don’t matter have a greater impact on me than they should, and suddenly all those little molehills are mountains that I just can’t scale.

But a large part of it, also, is that the things I do have going on are few, but not small. You see, for someone who generally tries to avoid dramatic situations and live a semi-normal life, I somehow find myself caught up in the middle of one dilemma after another. And all I can do is stand there and wonder in bewilderment how on earth I ended up there again.

“You’re God of the hills and valleys
And I am not alone”

After trying for several days to dismiss the overwhelming barrage of thoughts banging around in my head, it got to the point that I had to get out. I had to go somewhere, get far away from the walls of my humble little apartment, or I was going to go insane. And probably do something pretty stupid – because, again, little miss “overly emotional and prone to impulsive behaviors” over here leans slightly more towards the mentally unstable end.

So I gathered up my Spanish homework, hopped in good ole Cameron, and headed down the road to the Indian Mounds.

Being quite directionally-challenged and prone to severe anxiety when left alone for extended periods of time, I tend to avoid going to trails like the Mounds by myself. In fact, it’s really very rare that I make it out there – usually only if a friend suggests we go. I just don’t like being in places like that by myself.

But sometimes, sometimes being completely alone is exactly what I need. And this was one of those times.

I needed a distraction. I needed something to look at besides the walls in Pemberley, or the words on the pages of a book. I needed to see something that would remind me there was someone out there that had a better grasp on all this mess than I did, and I needed the reminder that I could trust their control enough to loose my own pathetic grasp on the situation.

And I needed to move… Sitting/pacing, ruminating about the mess that has become my life wasn’t really helping. If anything, going through every aspect of it over and over with no new revelations of what in the world I’m supposed to do was just making things worse.

Just before leaving for the Mounds, I’d forced myself to sit down and read my Bible. A couple of months ago, I decided I was going to go through I Corinthians and I Timothy; couldn’t tell you why, but that’s what I’d decided to do, and I was half-heartedly trying to stick to it. Suffice to say, I’ve only just now reached I Cor. 14. And there was no denying that my neglecting the one thing that keeps me alive probably played a major role in how overwhelmed I was by everything going on.

Even reading about head coverings and whether or not singleness is better than marriage (love this one), and nothing to do with my current situation – I tend leave feeling more at peace than when I sat down. There’s just something about hearing from God that does that.

But lately it’s been a struggle to quiet my spinning mind enough to gather anything from what I’m reading.

I had Spotify playing in the background as I tried to diligently read through Paul’s dissertation on prophecy and tongues. (For the millionth time…because, church kid.) Suddenly, one of the songs caught my ear, and drew my attention away from pagan gibberish to the tune emanating from my phone.

“On the mountains, I will bow my life
To the one who set me there
In the valley, I will lift my eyes to the one who sees me there”

It was Tauren Wells’ “Hills and Valleys”, currently one of my all-time favorite Christian tracks. I smiled and leaned back in my chair. Music has always spoken to me, more than words printed on a page or spoken from a pulpit…it’s why I always get so frustrated when worship sucks, or is nonexistent. And for as long as I can remember, God has never failed to always (always) send the perfect song at the perfect time.

Wells’ lyrics continued to echo through my mind as I trekked through the Mounds, taking in the beauty and the stillness of the nature around me. His calming words, combined with the complete tranquility which blanketed the woods that morning served as a reminder of the well-known truth that I so often forget in the midst of the storm of anxiety and worry that fills my head.

*Cue the cheesy emotional music, because here comes the sentimental conclusion to all this senseless rambling*

I’m no closer to figuring out what I’m going to do with the dilemmas facing me at this point in life. And even within the couple of hours after I returned from my morning hike, I found myself slipping back into my previous state of overwhelmed panic.

But those couple of hours that I spent in complete solitude served as a reminder that I can consistently reach back to now, when I find my anxiety taking over again. The total peace that enveloped me as I took in God’s creation, the truth spoken through the lyrics of a song the He is truly “God of the hills and the valleys, and I am not alone”.

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