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A Few Personal Insights on Clouds

This time last week I was on my way down from my summit attempt of Mt. Rainier.  Over the next few weeks I hope to share some invaluable life lessons that I squeezed from my time up there.  While mountaineering is brutal, it’s also peaceful and provided a degree of forced solitude that I really needed.

If life, clouds are often used as a metaphor for bad news. Knowing this, let me share a few lessons I learned about clouds that may help you.

  • The closer you get to clouds, the less intimidating they are.  All “bad news” and bullies are this way though.  From afar, clouds look menacing, strong even, but as we labored to climb up Rainier and got closer and closer to them, it became apparent that they were nothing to be afraid of at all.
  • Clouds look like they have an impossible height advantage to overcome, but we can climb higher.  It literally took every ounce of strength I had to climb above the clouds, but when we reached 11,000 feet, I looked down and realized that the clouds were under me.  I grabbed my iPhone from my pocket and snapped this photo.  The lesson here is that sometimes problems look like they will hover over us forever and that we will never be able to get out from under them, but this just isn’t true.  It may take everything you have and a ton of prayer, but you can climb higher than your clouds!
  • Climbing above the clouds just one time gives you a priceless perspective on life.  Sometimes in life, even when our problems don’t go away, a change of perspective and position can give you all the hope you need to hang in there.  When we only have one perspective of a problem (particularly if it is far above our heads and looks scary as hell), we tend to make a monster out of it. But, even if just for a few moments, being able to change your perspective to see your problems from above (and even from within), the perspective shift will show you dimensions and angles of your problems that will really give you hope.  The problem didn’t go away, but seeing it from another height can really give you confidence.
  • Clouds don’t last.  While a cloud may camp out in a location for a while every now and then, they tend to keep on moving.  Seeing this up close taught me a pretty amazing lesson.  The only way I could stay under the clouds in the mountains was if I moved with them.  Sometimes in life we blame the clouds for our troubles when the truth is we are moving everywhere they go.  It’s not the clouds that are the problem, it’s us!  Plant your feet, stand firm, and eventually the cloud will pass.

I hope these lessons help you.  They were hard-earned! Wishing you well my friends.

-Shaun

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shaun@churchleaders.com'
A techie-humanitarian, Shaun King is widely regarded as one of today’s leading voices on how social media and a little bit of courage can make our world a radically better place. He speaks a message of hope and action over 150 times a year, has appeared in dozens of national press outlets, and is the founder of TwitChange, aHomeInHaiti, and Courageous Church in Atlanta, GA.