It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. That’s what they always say anyway.. whoever “they” are.
I’m a couple weeks in to my 23rd year of life, and I have been reflecting on this whole life thing more and more every day.
As I rounded the corner to end another year of life and start a new, fresh one, just a couple weeks ago, my roommate asked, “What was your pit and peak of this year?”
If you’ve never heard of it, pit and peak is just the high and low. I try to find the pit and peak of each day. The pits humble you and the peaks remind you there is good in every single day we breathe.
I had to think pretty hard about this one though. This wasn’t just one day’s high and low, it was the high and low of 365 days.
I thought back to the beginning of year 22 for me. It honestly wasn’t that great. I wasn’t happy, not really, truly happy anyway. I had some beautifully happy moments, but my overall state of mind wasn’t of joy.
I was worried a lot, stressed a lot, and I was missing something. I had no clue what it was, but there was definitely a big, gaping whole that I had no idea how to fill.
For a while, I figured if I could just fall in love and find that person, my person, my gaping whole would close and I would live happily ever after. HA. What a whopping misconception.
We do that though. We search and search and try to find what’s missing. That’s what life is for so many people… just a waiting and searching game. We aim for the wrong things to fill holes that can’t be filled by anything on this earth.
I tried to fill the hole with my job, with having fun, with food, with shopping… with any kind of worldly possession or activity you can think of to make sure I stayed afloat and stayed “happy.” Even if I wasn’t happy, I sure had to seem like it to everyone around me and to every one of my social media followers because what a shame it would be for anyone to know we are real and have real struggles and real highs and real lows.
I stayed in that pit for much of year 22. I would climb up to the peak and feel the sun on my face and then fall right back down into the dark valley. The peaks made the pits even worse. When I was low, I would crave the highs I had and the happy moments that seemed to go away in a blink.
My peaks weren’t permanent. They were the result of instant gratification.
I’m not saying I didn’t have good days. I had plenty. But there was no consistency about my life or relationships. I was a roller coaster, and you had to buckle up if you wanted to ride along.
I don’t remember when it happened, but I finally stopped climbing alone. I stopped trying to make my job make me happy when it never will because it’s not my identity. I stopped trying to compete with every other person around me. I stopped searching for someone to fill the emptiness I felt.
I started just being.
And I found people to be around who helped me climb. Because you cannot climb alone and expect to stay on the peak and not fall back down. We are too weak as individuals. We were wired to be in relationships with the people around us.
Most importantly, I found my way back to the relationship that mattered more than any of the highs and lows ever will. My Jesus. My God. My friend. My Savior.
He never moved. He was right where I left Him. And man, I found Him again, oh did I find Him.
He started pulling me up that mountain while I was kicking and screaming and pulling myself down.
He gave me people. He gave me joy in the very smallest things. He opened the eyes of my soul and let me see the entire world around me like I had never seen it before. He changed me over and over again. He gave me grace and whispered the truth about me to me.
He told me who I really was and that I really didn’t have to try so hard anymore. That I didn’t even have to climb because He would just carry me.
And carry me He did. To the top of the peak, and He let me rest the whole way up. Then, He just said, “Enjoy.”
He let me enjoy life. Even when it isn’t sunny skies, He showed me how to find the light.
And when He knew I was finally at peace with myself, He gave me someone to really climb with.
He picked someone out who I may have never picked out for myself.
He gave me someone who would make me feel as beautiful as He created me to feel and who would give me the grace and patience I was designed to receive.
He let me learn to love without fear because love and fear don’t go hand in hand.
Most importantly, He allowed me to find out for myself how to be content without being complacent. He helped me start to figure out who I am without forcing me into anything. He just really let me live.
All along, I thought I had to do all these things and have all these things to really live, but it turns out I just had to let go of everything and let Him take me to the peak.
He showed me that I already had so much of what I had been desperately looking for.
The last day of my 22nd year of life started out as a pit. I was tense, stressed, trying to make sure everything was perfect, worried about the rain ruining my day, thinking too much. But it slowly and surely turned into a peak. There was laughter, adventure, friends, love, no worries, and beauty.
As I let go that day and rode home from a day trip with amazing friends, we saw a rainbow. And it was a perfect reminder that God is always bringing us out of the valley and up to the top of the mountain to see the view. He does that every day for us, sometimes with just a little wink. He is always showing His affection for us; we just have to open our eyes, look up, and let ourselves see it.
That day, I had to embrace the rain, and when I stopped worrying and just looked up, I got the reward of a rainbow. As cliche as it is, the rain that I was so worried about turned into something so beautiful that reminded me to just let go and breathe. Everything always will be ok.
Every day is not going to be great, but there is always going to be something great about every day. And as we look back on days, months, years, decades, they aren’t all spectacular, but wow, we can certainly look back in awe as we rattle off all the many peaks that outweigh the pits.