“I just feel like we’re going around the mountain again, you know?”
A few years ago, a friend confided in me about a situation that she was facing within her family. She was discouraged because they had been through the same issue so many times already, and here they were again.
My friend’s discouragement about “going around the mountain again” came to mind a few weeks ago.
Studying the role of shepherds back in Bible times at a recent Bible study, my group was discussing Psalm 23 where verse 3 popped out at us: “He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.”
Digging deeper, we discovered that the word “paths” means well-worn tracks like paths that would form when livestock walked along a familiar route season after season. In addition to that, those well-worn tracks often circled the hillsides. Rather than driving their sheep straight up a mountain, skilled shepherds would lead their sheep up the slope gently by traveling round and round the hillside, going a bit higher each time. It was safer and healthier for sheep to take a circular route. They could handle the distance each day and digest the vegetation properly.
At this revelation, the lightbulb in my head lit up. Hey, maybe going round the mountain again isn’t such a bad thing after all, I thought. I looked forward to talking with my friend and sharing our insight with her.
In human terms, we noticed at least 3 advantages to climbing a mountain along a circular path:
1. Each time around, you can see the situation from a higher perspective.
2. From a higher perspective, it’s easier to recognize and avoid past dangers that might pop up again.
3. A gradual slope is more manageable when it comes to life changes. There is proper time to “digest the vegetation” – for a person’s character to actually change and mature.
Yes, it may seem like it takes too long to reach the top, but just getting to the top of a life-changing issue is not the ultimate goal.
The inward changes along the way are actually more important.
Don’t be discouraged.
If you are going round the mountain again in some area of your life – homeschooling, marriage , friendships, health, work, whatever – take a moment this week to take a look around from your higher perspective. The area may feel familiar, but what have you learned since the last time? See how you or others have grown, even if it doesn’t seem like much. Don’t be discouraged. Keep going. The Shepherd of your soul will continue to lead you higher.
Does your student feel like they are scaling a mountain without a guide when it comes to composition and grammar skills? Writing Foundations offers gentle, gradual lessons that will take their skills higher than ever before! Our new mid-year entry class for ages 11 and up starts in January!