August 31, 2016

Coming Down from the Mountain by Connie Inglis
Well, the Olympics are over, and with it all the hype and attention surrounding individual athletes. Thus I thought it only fitting to consider what it’s like to come down from those mountaintop experiences both as writers and as Jesus-followers.

I must admit, I’m not an Olympian. The closest thing I ever came to athletic success was in college. I played on the women’s hockey team and in our final tournament of the year, I scored the overtime goal to win the trophy! I was suddenly trounced upon by a team of girls, screaming and shouting. I still call that goal one of my “claim to fame” moments. I guess it’s my “Olympic” moment. But then on Monday it was back to classes and exams and the daily routine.

For a true Olympian, the distance between the high of the Olympics and the quotidian days following can be extreme. Rick Madonick of The Toronto Star refers to it as, “Post Olympic Stress Disorder.”

There are some excellent thoughts in this article that can also pertain to us in our writing  journey and our faith journey.

If you’ve ever had anything published, I’m sure you remember that moment when you receive your first copy in the mail as a medal-winning moment. You touch the cover, you flip it around in your hands, you breathe in that smell of new paper, new print. You are ecstatic and your close friends and family are excited for you. That lasts for about a week, maybe more, but then you suddenly find yourself kicked over the edge of a high precipice to hit the hard ground below…and nothing. No more interest, no sales, no following. And your writing hits a slump. How do you keep going in the dark valley?

Our faith can be the same. We go to a Christian conference, a retreat, or we just experience an amazing morning of God’s presence on Sunday morning. We feel SO close to God, we hear His voice, we sense His guidance in our lives. Then Monday morning hits: you had a sleepless night because one of the kids vomited all night and now you’re yelling at all the kids, you go to start the car but it won’t turn over because someone forgot to plug it in and it’s 30 below, your computer has decided to crash while you were sleeping and you forgot to back it up, you get “the phone call” that someone close has unexpectedly passed away. Now what??!!! The mountain has been flattened by the mundane issues of life and God seems far away. 

Jesus, the ultimate medal winner, hears our "now what"s and understands. He understands because He Himself CHOSE to come down from Mount Zion to live in the valley of humanity. He chose to walk in the valley that He knew would lead to His death, FOR US! (Philippians 2) He became a servant, washing dirty, dusty feet as an example to us and then He told us to follow His example (John 13:15) of servanthood. 

There is another mountain story found in Matthew 17. Jesus takes three of his disciples up to a mountain for a mountaintop experience. They see Jesus shining brilliantly, a white light, and God proclaims Jesus' Sonship from heaven. The disciples are in awe. Peter wants to immediately build shelters but Jesus tells them to keep silent--and they quietly walk down from the mountain and into the valley of the enemy. Jesus is immediately confronted by a demon-possessed boy--He is back in the valley, healing, helping, serving. He heals the boy but not without confronting the disciples' lack of faith. And I don't think it coincidence that Jesus includes a mountain when referencing faith i.e. having enough faith to move a mountain from here to there (vs. 20). Jesus is telling us that even in the valley, we can move mountains.

But let me go back to the transfiguration. Jesus speaks two phrases to the disciples who are on their faces, frozen in fear--two phrases that we need to remember as we walk through life: "Get up." and "Don't be afraid." Jesus is encouraging us to keep moving and not give up. Psalm 37:24 says, "though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with His hand." Jesus is also encouraging us to cast off fear. Joshua 1:9 says, "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."

Mountaintop experiences matter. We need them to keep going through the humdrum like a memorial of strength. But God doesn’t call us to go from mountaintop to mountaintop. He calls us to persevere in the valley of the everyday, to walk with Him along the rocky, pot-holed road of life because that’s where true grace happens and that’s where medals are won or lost. And He sent His Son Jesus to be our true example of what that looks like. 

Olympians get very few minutes of glory compared to the days, months and years of training. So it is in our writing—God asks us to write faithfully and consistently, even if it’s just 100 words at a time. And so it is in our faith—God asks us to press on faithfully and consistently, even if it’s just a few steps at a time. 

What is truly beautiful and revitalizing in all of it, is that God is always with us. We can look up at the mountains from the valley and know God's splendor. But God's splendor is also with us in the valley in the form of His Spirit and through His Son Jesus. May we not forget that.  


  1. Beautifully said Connie. I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your inspiring words - not just here but every week in you 'Mid Week Moments'. I'm sure lots of readers don't take the time to comment (I don't always comment myself...) but are very encouraged each week by what you share. May you continue to be blessed - in both the mountains and the valleys!

    1. Thank-you Tracy. That was all the Spirit guiding me.

  2. Connie, I echo Tracy's words of thanks. Each Wednesday your posts bless me. And reading this blog post makes it a double portion for today.
    Blessings ~ Wendy

    1. Thanks Wendy for all your encouragement.

  3. Connie, I agree with Wendy and Tracy. Your Mid-Week Moments have been an encouragement all year. And today's post is another profound missive. "Get up!" and "Don't be afraid." Needed that today. And also, I LOVE your hockey photo!!!

    1. Thanks Joy for your encouragement too. And thanks for enjoying my hockey photo. :D


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