Hiking in Yosemite National Park, was again a highlight of my sabbatical. The amazing views and beauty is always breath taking and very refreshing to one’s spirit. I love getting away and walking the trails and enjoying the sounds of nature. This year hiking with some fellow children’s pastor’s it was a life-adjusting experience. I came to Yosemite so burned out and feeling very empty. I should have never let myself get that way but unfortunately I did. I cannot blame anyone or a specific situation. I let myself get messed up. I am thankful that God still uses messed up people and I learned some great leadership lessons.
The first lesson came on the very first all day hike. As we were working our way down the “Mist Trail” one of our hikers was really struggling with his knees. It was very clear that the steps down the trail were going to be insanely tough for him. This trail had been a source of anxiety in the past for me, but now my focus was not on the trail it was on my hurting brother. I wanted so desperately to make it easier for him to walk down those steps, but there was nothing I could do but walk behind him and offer periodic encouragement. It was there that God began to speak, ” What about those who you work with every week? Are you seeing them struggle and hurting? or are you too focused on completing the hike?” It was time to slow down and reflect on my role as a leader. I needed to step back and see those under my care and begin to help them work their way down the trail, taking one step at a time. It was clear through the mist, I needed to love those closest to me. Who is hurting around you? What are you doing about it?