When was the last time you had to face a difficult situation? Do you remember how you felt? Were you afraid you wouldn’t be able to handle it? Maybe you're dealing with one right now.
At some point, we have all encountered something we didn’t think we could handle—something that seemed too big for us.
When the economy forced me to close my business in 2010, I filed my final tax return to make it official. There were more than a few sleepless nights as I waited on my accountant to call me with the grand total. And for me, the total was grand...$17,000. Since I didn’t have the money to pay it all at once, the IRS agreed to settle by setting me up on a four-year payment plan at $330 a month.
I had no idea how I was going to make that payment each month. I was just trying to get back on my feet and scrape up enough money to put gas in the car and buy food. I found a job that paid me $600 a week, but it was seasonal, which meant I would be out of work at the end of the summer. Of course, the IRS would still be expecting their money each month.
It didn’t matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t ignore the dark cloud called Taxes that followed me.
There was no quick way to solve the problem, and no one was going to bail me out. I felt defeated, and wondered if I would ever breathe fresh air again. I felt like giving up, and that the only thing I had to show for the last several years of my life was a tax bill.
I saw that debt as a tall, rocky mountain I was forced to climb. The peak seemed so unattainable, and I was intimidated at the thought of getting started. That’s when God showed up and spoke.
“Just start climbing the mountain.”
You don’t climb a mountain by starting at the top, or half-way up. You begin at the base, putting one foot on solid ground and pulling yourself up to the next point. You keep doing this, taking breaks when you have to, until you reach the top.
So, I started climbing.
I got focused on my job, and on doing it well. Sure, I would have to find another one when that job ended, but I knew God would provide one, and he did. Though it would take years to pay my debt, I focused on making one payment at a time, and made sure the taxes were the first bill paid each month. I didn’t think about how far I had to go, I just kept climbing.
The next time you’re standing at the base of a mountain, consumed by its shadow, don’t let it overwhelm you. Don’t let it depress you, don’t let it defeat you, and most of all--don't panic! Take a deep breath and pray for God to lead the way.
Then, start climbing.
It won't be long before you're making progress. You'll start to see success, which will build the confidence you need to overcome that huge obstacle in your path. Don't worry about how far you have to climb--stay focused on the next step, and you will reach the top.
Trust God with the rest.
I paid the IRS off in three-and-a-half years. Every penny of it. I finally reached the peak of the mountain—a place that first appeared impossible to reach. I thought back to the day I began climbing, wondering what it would be like when I got to the top.
Then, I knew…it was peaceful.
What’s your mountain? What’s keeping you from taking the first step in your climb?