A few years ago I was hiking alone near Spokane, and I picked up a beautiful pine cone, and God used it to teach me something about myself. When I picked it up, I got mildly spiked by its sharp edges. God showed me that I sometimes emotionally pick up some hindrances to healthy progress in my journey–people with issues (sometimes just like me) who have “fallen from their Maker” (sinned), but still retain an overall attractive quality to me. I, being so trusting, so embracing, wrap my heart around them, being drawn to them, but, not wise to the reason why or the red flags, get repeatedly poked as I “carry” them. The pokes impede my joy on the journey as I hold them too tightly. I need to be wiser like a serpent to go along with my gentleness as a dove. To guard my heart without losing my enthusiasm or relishing in beauty/opportunity.

On the hike up the mountain (off-road cuz I missed the easy path), I was forced to let the pine cone go, to get back down safely–since I had my journal in the other hand. Letting go of things that hold me back is a vital self-evaluation and action step in order to stay all-around healthy.  The journey down was much harder. I had fear, being alone, not seeing the path. My knees hurt, and stability from the big rocks was better near the end of the descent. God was there, and He got me safely down, teaching me to rely on Him, not the pine cones of life. It was worth the journey to learn a breakthrough lesson in a crucible season of my life.