Clinging v. Conquering: Why The Difference Matters

As my feet hit the floor, I released the carabineer attached to my harness and made my way to my water bottle. My forearms were pumped- burning and swollen. I still had a lot of climbing I wanted to do, but my arms were already so fatigued.

In rock climbing, getting “pumped” is sometimes a symptom of climbing inefficiently, or using too much energy. I thought rock climbing was all about upper-body strength. To my surprise, climbers use their legs a great deal. I’ve been learning that using my legs can help me climb more efficiently and avoid the pump.

Picture this: You’ve climbed halfway up a wall. Your legs are bent and you are looking for the next place to grab with your hands. You find two handholds and pull yourself up using your upper-body strength. While this isn’t necessarily wrong, your legs did not do any work, which caused you to exert much more energy and tire out your arm muscles.

Now, imagine that you are in the same position as before. Except this time you straighten your bent legs, growing taller as you grab onto the next handholds. This time, you used your leg muscles, which are very strong. You distributed the energy you needed to use and as a result, your arms are not so tired. This is climbing efficiently.

As a new climber, I’ve been trying to focus on climbing like this. Despite my best efforts, on my way up a wall, it’s just not my natural instinct to look down at my feet first. I’ve got my eye on the prize, but ignore the foundation that will help me ascend.

I think this imagery reflects the lives of many women today.

Today women are reaching and desperately grabbing onto something- anything– that will help us measure up to those around us. We’ve expanded SO much of our own energy trying to give our lives meaning, only to arrive too exhausted to even enjoy it.

-Working insane hours for an extra paycheck that’ll buy us the designer handbag.

-Canceling plans with girlfriends to study all weekend in order to keep a straight-A streak.

-Spending more minutes staring in the mirror, hopping on and off the scale, than time in the Word.

We’re clinging on with sweaty palms and pumped forearms, neglecting the solid base beneath our feet. If only we would straighten our bent legs and embrace the solid foundation of Christ. Then we would be propelled up into the life that He intended for us to live. Because we weren’t made to desperately cling- we were made to conquer [Romans 8]. We weren’t meant to grasp at whatever was within our reach. We were meant to be confident in our standing.

I need this reminder as much as the next gal- Jesus didn’t die on the cross for us to continue in our old ways, earning love and manufacturing joy. Jesus died so that you and I could freely receive God’s love and grace. He died so that we could find a deep joy within that cannot be mass-produced and slapped with a Made in China sticker. Christ died to set us free from identities that never really did us justice, so that we could fully embrace the identity He uniquely and wonderfully designed for each of us.

Rather than striving and reaching, we have the opportunity to press into the firm Rock that is always holding us- we just have to pause long enough to look at our feet.

With Love & Freedom,


Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. ~Proverbs 3:5-6

 Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. ~Psalm 62:5-8


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