I read an article recently which prompted me to do some more research and I found out that it is, in fact, indeed true that most people perceive a hill to be steeper than it really is...whether you are looking up the incline or down. In one article, Perceiving Geographical Slant, the authors stated that "slant overestimation becomes increasingly exaggerated with fatigue". Test participants, during various research experiments, were asked to estimate the slope of a hill after a period of intense exercise. The participants consistently misjudged the slope, thinking a 5 degree slope was almost 20 degrees. The more tired, scared, frail or burdened a person is makes climbing the hill seem even more daunting.
Manitou Springs, Colorado has an Incline that the public uses for exercise. Once a one mile cable tram used to support the construction of a hydroeletric plant and a waterline, then turned into a tourist attraction was finally dismantled and what remained were the tracks that formed a crude, rugged stairway that ascends for 2000 feet. First timers to the Incline are often heard to groan and mumble, "You want me to climb that"?
I climbed this Incline recently. About 2/3 of the way to the top is a Bailout Pass and I actually made it! But boy was that the hardest climb I have ever done and made me a firm believer in the above research. I shed tears. I wanted to give up. I needed a lot of encouragement and motivation to make it up this incline. I remember looking up and thinking that the way kept getting steeper and steeper. If it wasn't for my cheering section, which included my fitness trainer, Alex Beeding, his fiancee, Jackie and a friend from the gym, waiting for me at the Pass and a husband behind me pushing me onward, I don't think I would've made it.
Life can be a hard climb sometimes. Sometimes we get burned out and exhausted and even a trivial problem can seem to big for us to handle. It is so much easier to just sit at the base of a difficult hill and stay there, convinced that the grade is too steep...but then we never achieve success. Life's difficulties are so easy to misjudge. We need courage to keep going when we are tempted to quit.
This weight loss journey I am on is a steep hill to climb. I can feel myself getting burned out from eating one more dinner of chicken and veggies. I can feel the soreness in my legs and the exhaustion from one more trip to the gym. I am tired. I feel frail. But I can't sit at the base of Weight Loss Mountain or I will never achieve the victory. So I draw strength and encouragment from those around me, from my fitness trainer, my family, my friends who all say, "Come on Debbie, you can do better. You're next goal is just around the corner. You may not see it, the way looks steep, but we're here in front of you and behind you. You can do it. You can conquer this difficult hill."
And I look up...and it does look steep. Very steep. Insurmountably steep...but then I catch a glimpse of the vision of being healthy again. I look at where I have been and where I am going and I say to myself....Onward then!!!
Isaiah 40:29 - He gives power to the weak and to those who have no might He increases strength.