Written by Celeste Boudreaux
Recently I was struck by this photo of three baby mountain goats playing on a rocky outcropping. With the blue mountains behind them, they are definitely frolicking, leaping from one rock to another with their little, hoofed feet, even jumping on top of each other.
Just looking at that photo makes my feet sweat.
It reminds me of the time my grown daughter persuaded me to accompany her on a trail to visit some ancient cliff dwellings. At first, I had been fine, gazing out over the beautiful, Arizona canyon from behind a guardrail. What I had not fully understood when we started out was that soon we would find ourselves on a narrow path skirting the edge of a very steep, very high cliff. And I had failed to remember my own fear of heights.
Eventually, only a few inches separated me from wide open air and a long, long way to the bottom of the canyon. No railing, no nothing. The void to my right, I kept leaning and veering to the rougher left shoulder of the path, which added to my feeling of the world being off kilter, to my doubting my sense of balance.
We reached a bench, a little farther from the edge, and I gratefully sat down. My intrepid daughter went and stood on the very edge, beyond the marked path, and I had to quickly look away. I couldn’t watch someone I loved so close to disaster. It froze my heart.
“You go on,” I told her. “I think I’m going to go back now.” “No!” she objected. “We’re almost there! We’re almost to the cliff dwellings!” So I decided to gather my courage and venture farther into the abyss. I practiced taking deep, calming breaths and focusing on the path right in front of me, trying to pretend that it spread out as even ground for an acre in each direction. And sure enough, we were soon rewarded by the wonder of the ancient cliff pueblos.
Now you can see why I admire those young mountain goats. They seem to call to me to live into the promise of the verse from Habakkuk 3:19: “The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places.”
Let me invite you to take a few minutes to ponder the following, perhaps jotting down your responses:
- The verse says “my high places.” What are your high places? What are the places of risk and exposure in your life that freeze your heart?
- What would it look like for God to make your feet as joyful and secure as those little goats’ hooves on your own “high place” of risk? Can you imagine yourself with a carefree confidence in this area? Spend a little time visualizing this.
- Or would it be enough for now for God to give you the courage to refuse to give up and go back the way you came? To just move forward, one brave step at a time? Speak to God about what you need.