Nine suggestions for when you’re NOT on a mountaintop

Nine suggestions for when you’re NOT on a mountaintop

Nine suggestions for when you’re NOT on a mountaintop 150 150 JJ Landis

Maybe it’s because I have been sick for a week now that I feel like I’m in a rut. It very well could be the cough medicine and general delirium causing the fog. Or it could be that life has set me in a valley for a time. A week into this head/chest cold or flu or whatever it is, I can’t seem to remember what life was like when I was well. Sometimes feelings are more robust than logic so when I feel yucky, I assume my whole world is yucky.

I haven’t been exercising. I haven’t been writing. I have been unproductive at work. I barely ever make it to church. I’m an uninterested wife. I’m an uninvolved mom. Everyone else is happy and healthy. Everyone else has a Pinterest worthy life. I blame the winter. I blame the mean old editors and agents. I blame being sick. I blame interruptions.  I blame the needy kids. I blame the needy husband.

Blah blah blah. I just got the blues. Eeyore would understand.

One advantage to being forty-something is I have had lots of years to learn lessons such as these tactics to employ during these seasons when I am camped out in a valley. These seasons when I would prefer to be on top of a mountain looking down.

1. Look at the mountain. All the way to the top. Appreciate its grandeur and realize there is no way I’m getting anywhere near the summit using my own strength.

2. Realize climbing the mountain takes a series of small steps.

3. Look at the mountain. But not all the way up. Just focus on where the next step needs to go. And count that one step as success. Progress.

4. Look at the mountain. Ask: Why do I even want to climb it? Is it so others can see me and congratulate me? If so, run the other direction.

5. Don’t expect each moment to equal the glorious exaltation of reaching the highpoint. Celebrate each phase for the achievement that it is.

6. Celebrate with others as they ascend their own mountains. Cast off jealousy, as carrying that load will do nothing but weigh me down making my own journey more burdensome.

7. Look around. Focus on someone else. Others are here too. Everyone else is not experiencing a joyous mountaintop experience. (Shocker – I’m not the only person who ever lived.)

8. Mourn with others as they step tentatively through the low places. Remember too that true empathy does not say, “Whew, glad I’m not that person.” Rather, empathy is really seeing through someone else’s eyes.

9. Live a life that is full of gratitude and is bigger than the current place I reside. Philippians 4:11-13: “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”


JJ Landis

JJ Landis is the author of "Some Things You Keep." She is a librarian in Pennsylvania where she lives with her husband and three children. She blogs about parenting, marriage, and getting through the day at

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  • JJ,
    This post got me all teary-eyed! I know it’s not one of “those” posts, but there’s such a big #metoo right here. Things are going well, and yet I feel like a crazy person, trying to walk carefully in those low places you talked about.

    Truth: “Sometimes feelings are more robust than logic.”

    Thanks for such practical truth here!

    Your friend,

    • Not sure if you’ll ever see this reply, but THANK you for getting it. Totally on the same wavelength. Someday I want to meet you and your adorable wife and kids!