Annually, I enjoy watching a few stages of the Tour de France, especially the stages that are held in the Alps. The scenery is magnificent and the athleticism required to complete these mountain stages is phenomenal.
Today’s 200.5 kilometer-long 18th stage will end on the highest-ever mountaintop finish. The Col du Galibier sits at 2645 meters above sea level. The total distance of the last mountain climb is 23 kilometers and the last part of the climb is 8.5 km long at an average gradient of 6.9% (height gain: 585 m) with a maximum of 12.1% at the summit.
I can not imagine cycling up this mountain. I can not imagine the level of fitness and mental toughness that is required to endure the pain these riders must experience.
As you look at the profile of this stage – the up and down nature of the route – you can make the analogy that it’s like the ups and downs that life brings. Sometimes we are on our mountaintops and sometimes we are in the valleys. The ease of the cyclist’s valleys are like our mountaintops and the difficulty of their mountaintops are like the challenging aspects of the valleys of our lives. When we are on our mountaintops, things are grand. When we are in our valleys, life can be tough.
The key is how we handle our valleys.
How do you react to the adversities that put you in your valleys? You have a choice as to how you respond. I am coming to appreciate the significance of this and that how I choose to react makes all the difference in the world.
The Bible is full of reminders as to the nature of God and his love, power and steadfastness. Because we have God in our life, we can be assured that he will comfort us when we are in our deep valleys. Let’s look at part of Psalm 23.
“Even though I walk through the darkest valley,I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4
Sometimes we may feel distressed and troubled over our life circumstances. God wants us to know that we are not alone though. He wants us to look into his perfect Word to be reminded of his nature and to guide us.
“Trouble and distress have come upon me, but your commands give me delight. Your statutes are always righteous; give me understanding that I may live.” Psalm 119:143-144
The attitude we have when we are in the trials and valleys of our life will make all the difference in the world. We can be anxious and all stressed out or we can be trusting and at peace. A chronic state on anxiety can cause a host of health issues. A state of inner peace is conducive to good health.
You can choose to be reminded of the nature of God and look into his Word to find scriptures that point to Him. Or, you can try to cope with your valleys on your own in your own strength and in your own ways. It’s a matter of choice. The resulting attitude and behaviors that follow will be based on your choice.
Questions to Reflect On:
When you are headed into a valley or are in the midst of a valley, what attitude to you choose to have? Do you routinely choose to turn more deeply to God or do you routinely leave him out of the picture?
If you do turn to God, do you include looking into scripture to be reminded of his nature and promises?
More Reading Related to Life and the Tour de France
Blog Post – A Strategy for the Tour de France and Life