Ten days ago, I started looking for yellow diamonds. Yellow trail signs that told me I was going the right direction. I was hiking Mount Nebo in Arkansas with two friends and the trail seemed to be getting longer and longer. What I thought was a one-mile path was taking hours and I was pretty sure it was no longer in the “easy” category.
It was beautiful outside…the colors are still vibrant in some places of Arkansas unlike my Michigan home. The air was autumn crisp but the sun made it feel warm and cheerful. I had decided to wear my tall boots to walk since the trail wasn’t going to be long and I wanted to be toasty with my long socks. We stopped every few minutes to take some photos of the incredible views and marvel at God’s creation. We even looked at the state park map a few times.
That’s when things started seeming a little off. After all, this trail seemed like it was longer than one mile. The map was slightly confusing and reading it with two others brought conflicting opinions. The only thing I knew for sure is that we were on the yellow diamond trail, so I started keeping my eyes peeled for those bright gold signals on trees.
We weren’t lost…we just weren’t exactly sure which trail we were on or how long it was. We kept hiking along, stopping here and there to take in the sights or take a drink from our water bottles. One whole side of the mountain was shaded and much cooler. There were icicles hanging down from the rugged crevices and it instantly made me feel colder. But every little while I would see another yellow diamond and would feel the inner shout: YES! We’re still on the right path!
That’s when I started thinking about how much this paralleled the “limbo” feeling of walking the path of life. I hate being in the limbo…the in-between seasons of life are uncomfortable. Ever wondered if you’re on the right road to where you’re going? Let me tell you, I’m there more often than I’d care to admit. Those spaces of wondering and wandering can be painful…or tension at best.
I’m still learning as I go through these seasons of limbo…but here are four things I recognized and connected dots with along the mountain path recently:
3. Keep moving forward. Don’t stand and wait for another sign…it won’t come to you. Keep moving. Staying in one place won’t get you anywhere. You’re going to have to trust Jesus and move forward. Having a rough season? It’s okay to cry and walk forward, even slowly. Just keep moving. Always keep moving forward. Plus, moving will keep you warm.
4. Be Patient. Waiting isn’t my strong suit. Never had been. I’m learning this more and more lately about myself. Waiting is something I hate doing. Being in the limbo, or in the in-between seasons of life can be difficult! But Jesus is in those spaces too…sometimes even more so in the stillness. Learn to lean into His Presence. Trust His will. He is good. No, He doesn’t always make sense to our human brains, but He is always good. He is for us and His way is perfect.
Yes, we made it the whole way on Mount Nebo that day. It took longer than expected, but we stayed together, followed the signs and kept moving forward. We’ve got some pretty cool pictures to prove it. My step-counting watch said over thirteen thousand steps. It was a hike to remember.
So, when the trail seems to tower above you like a mountain climb that winds around and around, remember this: in the seasons of in-between, He is there with you. He has a purpose. Those seasons of limbo can be beautiful, because He is walking the road with us. Never alone…always one step ahead of us.
I’ve come to call these spaces Life Between Trail Signs.