I’m working with several people in the midst of decision-making- BIG decisions like career changes and relocation of their family. And at the time of this writing we are in the midst of pandemic-fueled significant global and national crises for extra change challenge measure.
This morning while running a new trail system on a work trip, I was thinking about decisions for myself and others. As I ran, I came to this fork: left option keeps the flat (ish) and right goes up… my line to Enneagram 7 kicked in and I chose the “let’s see what’s up there!”
Not 50 feet ahead of me a fellow trail runner was coming down … but skidding and sliding quickly. Not having enough traction or anywhere to brace myself to support, I jumped to the side as she regained her footing and kept running. While watching her slip and slide and feeling completely helpless I did notice she was wearing trail shoes with ankle support. But even with the very best equipment she was challenged on that section of trail.
I looked down at my own shoes…
And turned back to the lower trail.
I was not adequately equipped for the climb or the descent on the harder ridge trail that day. And in making decisions, it’s important to take an honest inventory of our whole person and gauge our readiness as we contemplate certain challenges. It may also be that our equipment and resources have been used up in previous treks- perhaps we just came from a section of trail that used up our energy, food and water supply and we need to restock. This is not to say that we shouldn’t take risks and stretch ourselves, but our gut, hard-earned wisdom, discernment and others’ counsel offer 360-degree type perspective for what level of equipping is necessary if we choose to continue the challenging path.
I continued on the flatter path for awhile and then turned to start back to the trailhead- I still wanted one good climb to round out the run. As I made my way back to the last section, another fork (aka opportunity) presented itself. And it was perfect – not too steep, terrain that my shoes could handle on the up and down- just the level of challenge I was equipped to take on that particular day.
Not only did I get one last climb, but I took in some incredible handiwork on the way down with a huge and beautiful spider web across two branches, strong and delicate and glistening- exquisite.
Saying no to one challenge doesn’t mean we are closing the door on any challenge. But sometimes waiting, doubling back and re-evaluating will take us to the opportunity that better fits this season and stage.
And sometimes the season may be one of recovery and renewal. Maybe you are coming out of an extremely stressful, depleting or painful part of your life journey and it is all you can do to maintain forward on the smoothest, flattest path. Staying upright is sometimes challenge enough.
Recognizing limits, whether it’s our equipment or our stamina, is a critical element of choosing the next trek wisely.