I have read that hiking the Appalachian Trail is as much mental as it is physical. Having a positive attitude and developing the genuine ability to embrace adversity as part of the adventure, will form some of my mental armor against the dragons of moodiness and depression
I respond so strongly to the words of others (positively and negatively). Words of affirmation and encouragement motivate and inspire me. However, negative words of pessimism and criticism push and pull my thinking toward discouragement and doubt. Some acquaintances have already attempted to spray some cold water on my plans to thru-hike, but I am determined to take the comments of the naysayers and transform them into challenges to conquer, opportunities to prove God’s faithfulness, and inspirations to stay on the trail.
God has been so faithful to provide special words of encouragement to me from a variety of sources when I need them most. For example, I have a special colleague who asks me about the trail every week – offering me words of confidence and genuine excitement about my journey. One of my blog followers reads and “likes” every post I submit and occasionally will leave a positive comment of support. Several others have personally commented on my blog and share that they look forward to reading my insights every day. I also received an email from a faculty member just this past Thursday afternoon, shortly after I shared in Middle School Chapel about the AT and some of the fears I have in making this epic hike. She wrote,
Great talk in chapel! You had the attention of junior high students for over a half hour! Not an easy task! I enjoyed your presentation as much as the first time I saw it! I hope you’ll send out information about how to donate. I know the parents will want to know too!
Another verse to take with you would be my favorite one when R___’s [her husband] out of town overnight. David wrote Psalm 4:8, and he was out in the wilderness with wild animals a lot! [Psalm 4:8 says, “I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.”]
God bless your next 100 days as you prepare to enjoy the following 120 days in His creation!
For the many of you who have shared positive words. I thank you. Please know that your comments truly undergird my mental preparation for the journey.