About thirty years ago, Canon had an ad campaign with the slogan "Image is everything" with some current tennis star as their spokesperson. It was a creative campaign that managed to send two messages at once--"our camera takes the best images" and "how you look is most important". The second message, can be contrasted by what the Bible says in Isaiah 16:7 and in Matthew 15:18, in which God says that what is in our hearts matter most.
God has been revealing a certain uncleanness in my own heart one morning while Eric and I were hiking up the Echo Summit Trail on Camelback mountain. The trail description said that this trail was for "experienced hikers" only, which definitely does not describe me. At this point in time, I am not in shape at all. However, we reasoned that we could always turn around before we reached the peak. As we walked up the "steep" incline from the street to the start of the trail, I was already huffing a little bit and thinking "Wow, we aren't even on the trail and this is steep." The beginning of the trail was very steep series of steps made to discourage erosion and "help" people walk up. After a very brief level section, the trail turned and become extremely steep. Throughout it all, I managed to make it up each section. Then came the "Holy Moses!" section of the trail, which was divided into two parts. These two sections required you to use a handrail to get up because it was so steep and there were very few toe holds/hand holds to help propel you up. By the way, I gave these sections the name "Holy Moses!" because that is what you said (or some other variation) when you saw them. After mastering these two sections, we walked a brief gently rolling section until we came to the "Wall of Boulders" that seemed like a slightly smaller version of the "Cliffs of Insanity" that Wesley scaled in "The Princess Bride" (okay, I am exaggerating here a little bit). When I reached the top of the boulders, my legs informed me that they were getting REALLY tired and that if I wanted to return (alive) to the car, I should turn around without delay. As in NOW.
So, after a brief rest, Eric and I turned around and climbed down the small hill of boulders, down the two steep handrail hills, down the pretty steep section and the fairly steep steps down to the gentle incline to our car. Did you notice the change in description? Well, my atitude definitely was different on the way down than on the way up, and it wasn't because going down steep hills are any easier than going up them. My legs shook from the exertion because they were so tired already and had to work hard to stay in a controlled descent. However, I had managed to get through each section, so it wasn't as daunting the second time. My perspective had been altered. At this point, God started talking to me about the move and how I have been reacting to it. He showed me how I have been so focused on all the work that has to be done to get ready for the move and all the friends that I have to leave behind that I have forgotten that He is taking me from a place of blessing to a place of blessing and that He is coming with me and my family. I know that God is okay with my grief at having to leave my friends and family and move away from a home I have grown to love. However, it's not as if I have to purge my friends in Illinos (and Indiana, Kentucky, etc.) when I move to Phoenix. I am still grieving because I am still going through the process of saying "good-bye" to people. However, I am trying to train my thoughts so that I remember what a great place we will have in Phoenix and look forward to all the new "hellos" that I will be saying in a short time.
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 5 For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows." 2 Corinthians 1:3
"We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. " 2 Corinthians 10:5