When I was writing my book, I wondered if there was anyway to avoid wilderness. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out ways, but then I looked back at every catalytic time in my life and realised it was because of a wilderness. As painful as wilderness is, it is necessary. The trick is to enter without delay and to figure the stuff out and then leave when we have. That sounds so obvious, but it's not when you in the midst of it.
The two most crucial times of wilderness is the entering and leaving. Let's be honest none of us want to be uncomfortable or experience pain. Wilderness sits smack bang in the middle of pursuing our vision and the fulfillment of that vision. When we start out it’s with a hop and a skip and full of hope and great expectations, but as time goes on, your hop becomes a drag and the only thing skipping is your heart as you start to experience the barren wilderness and occasional disappointment.
We can try shortcut it, or avoid it, but all that serves to do is prolong the inevitable. Wilderness is necessary because it tests our hearts, it refines our why, it reveals our true character and checks our motivation. You can see why it is so necessary, but also you can see why it would be so painful.
The key thing about wilderness is the isolation, you do it alone, it’s just you, the tumble weed, hot dry stinging sand and your thoughts, fears and doubts. It’s where you get to the end of yourself and face the ugly truth, you have two choices, you can deflect and blame or you can reflect and take responsibility and change. The trick is as the naked ugly truth hits you, not to start blaming and getting a victim mentality. Embrace it and then decide what you can do about it. We don’t have to stay there, we can change the story. It’s cliche, but it is true, and I am not sure who said it first, but we cannot change how our story starts, but we can and should change how it ends.
If you are in wilderness, that land in-between the Here and There it is easy to get lulled into staying there. It's a place of frustration, exhaustion and yes, sometimes even despair, it's okay, there is no shame it that, it’s part of the journey, but it’s not your destination. It’s a place where greatness is forged, it’s where the thriving begins, if you choose to do the work, trust the process and then reach out to get real connection.
If Wilderness is all about isolation, then the perfect antidote to get you to leave is connection. Real connection. I hope you have people in your life that provide real connection. These are people who see you warts and all and love and accept you regardless, they believe in you and see your potential even when you are at your worst and won’t let you waste it away, they will love you enough to speak the hard things to you and not let you wallow for too long. They ignite you with hope, they speak courage into you and call you to raise up again and do the great work you are called to do.
Yes, this is hard,
Yes, this is taking longer than you thought,
Yes, circumstances have changed the landscape,
but you are born for a time such as this and you have what it takes and you don’t have to do this alone.
Do the work that is necessary to build your character, refine your WHY, confirm your values, set that motivation straight then reach out, and come out of wilderness.
You have got this!