Friday, November 18, 2011

Lessons from the Mountaintop, by Linda Settles

The climb is always easier when we leave the garbage at the bottom.
I learned something yesterday morning.  While taking a walk the day before I had realized that our beautiful mountain road had been marred by litter.  Coke cans.  McDonald bags. Beer cans.  So, I took a garbage bag along for my walk. Between my home and the main road (three miles-- mostly downhill) I felt quite proud of myself as I collected garbage and placed it in the bag.  All went well until I started back up the mountain. The bag of garbage, comprised mostly of empty cans and paper--a bag which had been easy to carry on the downhill walk--soon felt like a lead weight as I trudged back up the mountain. I was afraid to put it down--what if a dog or wild animal tore into the bag and scattered my garbage everywhere?
 I may have traveled a mile and a half  when I came to a rock, a boulder really. It was almost as tall as me. That was when I laid my burden down.  I placed it in the shadow of the rock were it was almost hidden from site by smaller boulders scattered around it.
I walked away feeling lighter—free to lengthen my stride.  That was when I realized that I have often done the same thing spiritually and emotionally.  I have picked up other people’s garbage.  My heart was set on blessing them and beautifying the landscape of my life.  But I soon found that my shoulders sagged and I couldn’t quite catch my breath.  Other people’s garbage slowed me down.
It is only when I leave my garbage in the shadow of the Rock—that solid, unmovable, unchangeable, Rock of my Salvation, Jesus Christ, that I have the strength to continue my climb.
My husband came by later and threw the discarded bag in the back of his big red truck.  He then drove it to the waste center.  WOW!  That is exactly what the Lord does for us.  He takes all the accumulated garbage we have picked up—that which belongs to others as well as our own—and throws it in the back of his ‘big red truck’ to be carried away.    
Let’s lay our burdens down today, my friends.  Let someone with the resources to handle it dispose of it as only He can do.

- Linda Settles

About Linda:

"I grew up in a troubled home, learned a lot of lessons, moved away, married an amazing man, created a home of my own, and raised two daughters who are now married and raising my grand children.  If that's not a enough of an accomplishment to gain some boasting rights...well...what is?
Actually, none of us can boast because we survived, and thrived...because we didn't do it on our own.  We had the help of God, support of friends, and tenacity born of affliction. 
I lost my husband of 25 years in 2010.  I stopped writing for almost a year.  And now...I'm moving on, taking charge, and standing strong.  What did I say?  Life can't get us down as long as we're looking up.
I've written 7 books, earned multiple awards, and touched some lives with insights gained through my experiences and my study.  I thank God for every good thing that has come out of this life he has given me.  I've also made some mistakes and lost my way a few times. As someone so aptly said, "God ain't finished with me yet!" "

Accomplishments: PhD in Counseling
MA in Christian Counseling
Member of American Association of Christian Counselors
2009 Silver Living Now Award: Redeeming Our Treasures
2009 Silver Finalist: Benjamin Franklin Award: Redeeming our Treasures (2 categories:Psychology and Self Help)
Award Winning Author

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