More Than Conquerors
I recently read an article in “Outside”, my new favorite magazine. The article was on this free solo climber named Alex Honnold. If you don’t know Alex, he is this 23 year old, lanky five-foot eleven tall young man who climbs these unprecedented mountains without carabiners, ropes, nuts, or camming devices. All he has is his chalk bag, climbing shoes, energy bars, and a flask of water. Nothing at all to catch himself if he falls. He is practicing the most extreme and dangerous form of rock climbing. They will tell you that the fundamental rule in free soloing is this: If you slip, you die. Until Alex came along, no one has free-soloed a route as long or as difficult as the northwest face of Half Dome. Well, this guy just did it. He free-soloed a wall of sheer granite 750 feet taller than the Empire State Building. That’s right. Unbelievable.
I have great respect for people like Alex. I don’t quite get the need to defeat death over and over again, but I do respect his mental discipline and his ability to block fear. For me that is inspirational. His physical ability and mental toughness is unprecedented. I think we can all agree on that. But it stirs something on a different level for me. Maybe it does for you as well.
It stirs a longing in me to live life this way. To live no longer controlled or inhibited by fear. So many of us are more than conquerors when it comes to extreme sport whether it be climbing, riding, boarding, skiing or surfing. Whatever it might be. We find it easy to conquer fears and do the unthinkable when it comes to our sport of choice. And I wonder if pat of the reason is that we don’t feel like we have what it takes to conquer our fears when it comes to the ‘real’ stuff of life. I am thinking about the unchartered territories of our souls; the shadow-side of us that we all know is there but don’t know what to do with, the hidden addictions, the negative thought patterns of self-condemnation, or whatever it might be that holds us back from truly living. I wonder if we gravitate to what we know we can conquer because we don’t know how to conquer this deeper heart stuff. We long to be in a committed satisfying relationship but can’t seem to get past our selfishness. We long to reconcile with a long lost friend or family member but can’t seem to conquer hidden resentments and unforgiveness. We long to be a parent who is supportive and selfless but don’t know how to beat our addiction that keeps pulling us away from the things that truly matter.
Cool that the ancient scriptures tell us that when we tap into the One who has truly conquered fear, and allow Him to live His perfect life through us, we can be more than conquerors. More than conquer the things on the outside, but conquer the deep things within our souls. I wonder if we truly allowed Him to conquer the dark stuff in our souls, just how high we could climb.
For me, Jesus is the One who can get us there.
Don Ross Secondary School
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