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So these may not be the most interesting pictures I have shared but I am really excited about "real" rock climbing for the first time. 
I've always been told that I'm too small and too weak to really accomplish much physically. While it is true that I may not be the best at a lot of sports, the more physical things I have tried the last few years, the more I have learned that I'm actually pretty capable. I mean let's be honest, I am not going to win any strength competitions any time soon, but I CAN do things. I limited myself for years. I was embarrassed to try and do physical things and I would give up as soon as it seemed like I was failing. Not anymore. 
I tried surfing for the first time a few years ago and on our way to the lesson, I just knew I was going to fail miserably. I was surprisingly very wrong. Apparently, I am a natural surfer. I rocked it, not gonna lie. I realized at that moment when I stood up perfectly on the board the very first time that maybe, just maybe, I might actually be good at physical activities. That experience opened up a new world to me. I have since then taken every opportunity to try new things. Yesterday, it was rock climbing. I have been a few times in a gym and didn't love it but I really wanted to try it outdoors. Sam surprised me by booking this excursion and we went! It was at Garden of the Gods (simply stunning) so we drove the hour it takes to get there and I decided to be brave. I was the second person to take their turn and I knew I just had to start. I walked up to the bottom of the rock, looked up and thought to myself, "you will never make it to the top".  I actually think getting up off of the ground was one of the hardest parts. I flew through the first part of the rock and about a third of the way up, I hit a fairly flat part. If I had been even just two inches taller, I would have been able to reach the handhold without a problem, but alas...I am only 5'4" and it took a while, and a few rests, and a few "falls", before I found a path up and over it. This happened another time when I was literally only a few feet from the top. I was exhausted and it really seemed like there was nothing above me to grab ahold of. I looked up and saw the top just about 5 feet above me. I took the moment to look around to see the view I had and was thinking, "well, enjoy this view because you aren't going to see the view from the top". I knew it, I wasn't good enough, or strong enough, or tall enough to make it to the top. My limits were too great. My strength was insufficient. I gave up.
I yelled down to the instructor that I was done. I can't make it to the top, I should just come to terms with the fact that I wasn't "made" to do this and give up.
He replied, "You can do this, just rest a minute and try again." So, I listened. I took just a minute to rest and clear my head then I pushed up with legs and pulled up with my arms with all I had. I clung to that rock with my entire body and pulled myself over the most difficult part. Before I knew it, I was at the top. I got to see the entire view. I made it. 
It was exhilarating. I did something that I thought I wasn't capable of. Something that other people told me I wouldn't be good at. 
Yeah, it was challenging at times, but I figured it out. I pushed my brain, and pushed my body and I made it. 
After repelling back down the rock and unhooking from the line, I realized that my hands were burning. I had the biggest smile on my face. I was completely exhausted and my arms were shaking. I noticed I had pieces of skin missing from where I had pushed and pulled against that rock so hard. It felt good. It felt incredible. 
I hadn't even noticed the pain when it happened. I was so focused up there on that huge rock on getting to the top that those little cuts and burns and bruises didn't even register. 
I have fallen in love with the feeling of it. Of pushing your body and realizing it can do so much more than you thought it could. Of the wild and natural feel of using my bare hands and my entire body to scale a piece of rock. Of seeing birds fly a couple of feet above you and looking out over miles and miles of trees and mountains. 
I am hooked.
I could not help but realize how much it was like life. I was really amazed that even when it seemed like there was literally NO WAY to find a handhold and a foothold, I did. There was always a way. I had to think hard, and move to the left and look and move to the right, and reach higher than I though I could, and push harder than I thought was possible, but there was always a way. Even when I thought I had hit my max and exhausted all of my options, I gave it just a little bit more and reached the goal. It reminded me of God. It reminded me the way He leads us. Into a great adventure. It isn't always easy. Sometimes we cruise through and gain our confidence and then we get to a spot and realize, I need help, I can't do this alone and you ask your guide where to put your foot. You realize there is a way you didn't know was there. You may fall and lose some ground and have to gain it back. But don't give up. You just keep going. You push yourself and rely on the wisdom of you instructor and trust them when they tell you, "Keep going, you're almost there, you can do it." 
He pushes your limits and shows you that in Him you are capable of so much more than you ever imagined. You can climb mountains and be with the birds and see the beauty of the world. 
It was so empowering. It was such a rush and I am so very tired and so encouraged and so renewed and so excited to push myself even further. 
I learned today that I can rock climb. I can probably do a lot of things that I think I can't.
It is time to stop limiting ourselves because of what others have told us and because of what we have told ourselves. Just because we believe something doesn't mean it is true, but we make it true when we choose to believe it. If I hadn't chosen to believe that maybe I could make it to the top, I would have given up and the statement that "I couldn't do it" would have been true. It wasn't true until I made it true. But I didn't, I took hold of the real truth. The truth that I had it in me. 
What holds you back? What lies have you believed that limit you? What does God say about who you are and what you can do?
It's worth finding out.

Sam scaled that thing faster than anyone and made us all look like snails, lol.