I love to go rock climbing. And living in the Mid-Atlantic region, I am blessed to live only a few hours away from one of the greatest rock climbing areas in the world, the Shawangunks in Gardiner, New York. There are hundreds of rock climbing routes spread over a series of cliffs. This is a picture of my son nearing the top of a climb.
Every climb has a move that is called “the crux.” As the name implies, the crux move is the most challenging move on the route. The crux move is often midway through the climb or closer to the end of the climb. For me, arriving at the crux move has often accompanied the arrival of thoughts like, “What the heck were you thinking? You can’t do this! Turn back! Go down!” In that crux moment, I have a choice: turn back and go down OR take a breath, dig deeper within and move forward.
As I write this, we are about midway through our Lenten journey, and I feel like I am at the crux move. Since Ash Wednesday, I have been taking the actions I committed to, being mindful of opportunities each day for small mortifications or sacrifices. And I have to admit, the extra self-control and heightened focus required are feeling tiresome at this point. Yesterday I found myself literally thinking, “So what? Just don’t do it. Nobody will even know.”
But then I took a breath and dug a little deeper within. There I heard the Lord’s voice saying: Continue on this path with Me. I am walking before you, beckoning you. Come, follow Me. Even as I go ahead of you opening up the way, I am also right beside you and I will never let go of your hand.
I breathed a sigh of relief, remembering that I do not make this crux move on my own strength. My forward movement, thank God, is not dependent upon my own tenuous strength and courage. Of course I can’t do it on my own. That’s the point. If it were easy enough for me to do on my own, I may never know what it really feels like to need my Savior.
Jesus then said to the Twelve, ‘Do you also want to leave?’
Simon Peter answered him, ‘Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of everlasting life. – John 6:67-68
Peter’s words really strike at my heart! I could give up now, Jesus, but to what end? The end that ends in You is the only end I want.
And then I finally got it. My crux move isn’t making that next sacrifice or act of self-denial, as beautiful as they might be. My crux move is surrender. The real journey of this Lent for me is traversing the expanse from self-reliance to self-surrender.
Heavenly Father, as our Lenten journey continues, thank you for drawing us closer to You so you may speak Your Truth into our hearts. Thank you for giving us the grace and courage to keep moving forward into deeper and deeper self-surrender. Amen.
Copyright 2018 De Yarrison