A Mountain in Your Life? Where does your Help Come From?

When we keep looking at the mountain of struggle, we can feel crushed, but when we know someone greater than the mountain is with us, we can find the help we need. Mountains move when we meditate on Gods goodness.

Where I live, I’m surrounded by mountains. They’re not very high mountains. The highest peak is only 196 meters high and has the name Mt. Eden and is a dormant volcanic cone.

The highest mountain I have been up to is Pikes Peak near Colorado Springs. At 4302 meters it’s so high that the breathing is difficult, but the views are fantastic.

A Mountain can be  imposing

When you go to a place where there are many mountains it can be imposing.

They dominate the scenery. Everywhere you look you see this fortress looming up into the sky.

When you are at the base of the mountain, you look up, and you feel small. Tonnes and tonnes of rock piled up. It’s awe-inspiring, but it also blocks out the sun.

In the shadowed valleys it can get bitterly cold and dark.

Mental Mountain

There are times when many of us can feel overwhelmed and undermined by the sense of living under a mountain. Guilt, shame, failure, loss, depression, anxiety bear down on us.

It’s always there. It won’t shift, and it looms heavy with a cold shadow.

We try to scale the mountain, fight against its slide. Perhaps we were never meant to fight the mountain anyway.

Where does my help come from

The Psalmist writes this.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.
Psalm 121: 1,2

There are many interpretations of what this beautiful psalm might mean.

I think that the poet fully understood the dominating effect of a mountain.

They look up at an imposing mountain: the struggle, the challenge, and the hard work. In our day, we would look for the chair lift or cable car — the quick, easy, and safe option.

The Psalmist never had google he only had God. The best option was to build a life of intimate prayer.

The help needed came from an intimate heartbeat relationship with God.

The mountain to move 

I have mountains in my thinking I want to move.

Something I have found is that the more I focus on the mountains, the more I become mesmerized by them. They draw my attention in so that nothing else matters.

My attention shifts away from the ‘maker of heaven and earth.’

The Psalmist calls us to look at the creator, not the mountain.

Those mountains of trouble won’t last. They are temporal. God is eternal.

Mountains move

It’s surprising how when we shift our gaze back onto the creator, the fueled feelings can change. They seem to lose their power in the presence of the all-powerful.

As we commit our mountains, hills, and road bumps to our walking companion, we learn to listen for the conversation going on.

Together we find alternative routes through. The struggles lose their power to dominate our thinking.

Mountains move when we find Gods goodness.

Spiritual Exercise

Name the mountains in your life, then notice every time that they form in your thinking. Gently bring your gaze back to Jesus, who is walking beside you. As you gaze on Jesus and listen to his words, note how the mountains lose their power.

A reflection on the road to Emmaus

Quotes to consider

  • Believing all of my emotions is the shortest way into the loop of insanity. First the truth, then faith in the truth, then the feelings will come around. D. Riddell
  • We cannot attain the presence of God. We’re already totally in the presence of God. What’s absent is awareness Richard Rohr
  • God is not absent. It is we who fail to notice divine presence. It’s all a matter of awareness. Note: how aware are you of God, right at this moment. David G. Benner
  • Being present simply means being fully where you are. David G. Benner PhD and Richard Rohr
  • Each moment of awareness is a small awakening, and each awakening—no matter how insignificant it might seem—can be a doorway to becoming. David G. Benner
  • What you pay attention to—what you rest your mind on—is the primary shaper of your brain. Rick Hanson

Questions to answer

  1. What are the mountains that get your attention?
  2. What would Jesus say to you as you wak the pilgrim’s path?
  3. How do you focus your thinking on the ‘maker of heaven and earth’?

Listen

Further reading 

Mental Health is … Learning to Listen for the Whispers

How to Grow the Practice of Stillness for your Mental Health

Give your Mind the Spiritual Gift of Stillness

Barry Pearman

Photo by Kyle Johnson on Unsplash