“We would accomplish many more things if we did not think of them as impossible.” - Vince Lombardi
“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” – Philippians 4:13; the Bible
Three weeks ago, in the harbor city of Duluth, twenty-one teenagers from the state of Minnesota met for the first time in the parking lot of Salem Covenant Church. I was one of them, and we had no idea what we were getting into.
After some basic training, we were divided into groups of seven (plus two adults), and headed out on a 4-day canoe trip into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. If you don’t already know, portaging involves some serious muscle and I didn’t have any! The heavyweight canoes were carried by one person, balanced carefully on the shoulders, and packs were carried by the double (I can’t tell you how much they weighed, but believe me, it was a lot). I tried once or twice throughout the first 2 days to manage a canoe on my own, but I just couldn’t do it. Meanwhile, I got really good at hauling packs.
On the third day, our group came to the portage we had been dreading: a stretch a little over a mile and a half, namely J.A.P. Portage (refers to James and Ann Paulson). We were all so nervous, but managed to encourage each other the whole way through.
About halfway through, I was the only member left who had not carried a canoe. I didn’t want to let the crew down, so I hesitantly let them help me settle the bulk onto my shoulders. It was heavy, and the trail was hard, but after all my hesitation and insisting I couldn’t do it, I failed to notice something: I had set limits for myself that didn’t exist.
I convinced myself that it wasn’t possible, when it was. That is two and a half days where I could’ve contributed more to my team instead of leaving the heaviest weight to someone else. Adults tell us all the time we can do anything we set our mind to, and it’s true. We are being content to haul ‘the packs’, lighter and easier burdens, while staring at ‘the canoe’, our ultimate goal, wishing we could do what others have done in the past.
Don’t doubt your abilities. Pick up that canoe. You can carry it.
Note: I couldn't have gotten through this without the verses I had hidden in my heart. Philippians 4:13 was on my lips constantly. I gained so many sisters and brothers in Christ that I hold as forever friends. I can't wait to go back to the BWCA again!