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  • Writer's pictureAriel M. Pace

5 Lessons from Mountain Climbing

It has officially been two months since I’ve been living in Japan, which is still amazing for me to be able to say. As I reflect on this month I think back to October 2nd when I climbed a mountain. Yes, people, I climbed a real mountain! The mountain I climbed is called Nekodake and is located in Kumamoto, Japan. The peak I reached was 1,408m. As I struggled and trekked up this mountain, and slipped and crawled down it, I was praying and asking God to speak to me. During my adventure, I really believed God answered my prayer and taught me so many life lessons which I’ll share with you.

1. The Right Equipment makes it easier!

Y’all, I went climbing on a mountain in some high-top converse sneakers. No ankle support, thin base, little grip, and long loopy laces. I had on good clothes. I also had water and a backpack with the essentials like a snack, and a jacket just in case it was breezy. When you’re walking through life, put on the right equipment!!!! The trek may be rough but it becomes more bearable with the right stuff on!!!!

2. It is safer to climb mountains with others.

When life hits us with challenges, sometimes we feel that we have to take on the challenges all alone, or maybe we feel that no one will understand what we are going through! But the truth is when you invite trusted people to walk alongside you as you walk through hardship, it can help you!

I know I would have been done for if I decided to climb Mt. Neko on my own! I slipped, I fell, and I was sore, but I had others to encourage me and check in and make sure I was okay. Safely, I made it to the top, and safely, I made it back to level ground all in one piece.

3. Where there are ropes and roots, it’s safer to walk.

I enjoyed walking along the roots of trees, and I also loved seeing ropes along the path because that meant I could get a firm step in and move forward with more strength and power. When there were little to no roots or no ropes, I would slip slip slip!!! The lesson learned here is that the more rooted we are in Jesus, the more He can guide our steps and make them firm. Also, roots and ropes can represent the wisdom and lessons learned by others so that you don’t have to make the same mistakes and can walk through life more confidently.

4. Although you are high up, there’s more to see at the top.

There were many times, I thought I had reached the top of the mountain

. I saw so much already and had taken so many great pictures! I would ask, "Is this the top?" and I would get the reply “もうちょっと(mou chotto)” which means a “little more” in Japanese. There were times I thought, “‘mou chotto’ my behind, I’m tired and I’ve already seen the beautiful scenery! What else is there to see?!” I thought seeing the world from one side of the mountain was good enough for me.

Oh, but when I got to the peak of the mountain, I could see a 360-degree view of everything. It was more beautiful and breathtaking. I felt so accomplished and proud I didn’t give up. I had climbed too far to stop, go down, and miss the epic view. This made me believe that although God has been s

o good and thoughtful toward me, there’s still so much more He wants to show me and I think that’s special. There are things God wants to show you that is just for you, isn't that amazing?

5. Going down a mountain has its challenges too.

I’ve climbed a few mountains in my life in different places. Still, to this day, I believe the worse part of climbing a mountain is you still gotta climb down at some point. Climbing down a mountain is like doing an eternal set of squats. It hurts those upper thighs!!!!! Matter of fact, it hurts all over!!! I got more blisters, I slipped more and, I took more breaks climbing down the mountain than hiking up the mountain!

Coming off a mountaintop is part of the cycle of life. The mountain top moments can make us feel closer to God and can make us feel great, but I realized the grind of the everyday, waking up, going to work, and surviving to that day off or vacation time, is similar to the climbing up and down the mountain - DIFFICULT! The good news is that every day, in the grind, in the tired weariness of our mediocre routines, God is still with us. God truly gives strength to the weary. Jesus gave all of us the invitation that if we are weary, we can go to him and find rest!

I choose to believe that His word is true and seek His strength because God is my source.


As the month progressed, I realized that my climb on Mt. Nekodake was really a foreshadowing of the challenges I would face in the daily routine of being an Assitant Language Teacher in Japan this month. I’ve had my high moments, and I’ve had some low moments, but still, God is good to me. These lessons I’ve learned on my hike, have really been lessons I have cherished and have often referred back to throughout this month of October. I hope these lessons will encourage and help you as they helped me! Whenever you get the chance, in whatever you’re going through ask God to open up your eyes to the lesson he may want to share with you! It can help you with challenges now and coming ahead soon!


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