5 Tips on Handling the Ups and Downs of Life

IMG_0771I am currently on a sabbatical in the beautiful mountains of Colorado. During my time here, I recharge my batteries and restore my body to some sense of physical shape. (Round is a shape)

Yesterday I hiked 4 miles up and down high country ridges and valleys. A total of 3000 ft up and 3000 ft down. By the time I returned home it was almost dark.

On the drive to our cabin I relived the events of the day and these thoughts on handling the ups and downs of life danced in my brain. I hope you find them helpful even if you don’t dance.

Prepare for the Journey

Every day is going to bring its own series of ups and downs. Why not begin each day preparing for the journey. I spent  over an hour making sure that I had enough water and energy snacks, with me. I packed emergency equipment and navigational aids to help me find my way to my destination.

So why am I so careful about planning for a hike, and sometimes so careless about preparing for the daily journeys of my life? Every day I need the strength only my creator can provide. I will need to be prepared for unseen challenges, and stock up on the spiritual and emotional energy that can carry me through.

I am determined to return to the discipline of starting my day with prayer and meditation on God’s Word. That is the source of the sustenance, and guidance I need every day.

I wouldn’t think of heading into the mountains without supplies that will sustain me. Why would I begin my day without stocking up on the strength and wisdom that God offers.

Take Time to Enjoy the Journey


I’m the kind of person who tends to choose a goal and then march blindly toward the goal, missing the beauty along the way. The rewards of the hike to a far ridge are not only the views from the top of that ridge but the little blessings all along the way.

Know the Terrain

Expect that every journey is going to have it’s mountaintops and its valleys.

People who always claim to live on the mountaintop are either delusional or liars.

If we expect that life will always be easy going we will surely be disappointed. Everyone who breathes has either been through a valley or will be facing one soon.

Yesterday’s hike had moments of exhilaration and moments when I wondered if I could climb the next ridge. Don’t live with the expectation that the journey will be easy. Live with expectancy, knowing that whatever the situation, God will provide. Look for His blessings all along the way.

Pace Yourself when the Terrain is Steep

My friend Nordeck Thompson takes a well deserved rest!

My friend Nordeck Thompson takes a well deserved rest!

Once I get started I don’t like to stop until I have reached my destination. Fortunately my legs and lungs are smarter than my brain. The rest-stops gave my body a chance to recover so I could continue the journey.

The whole reason I am on this sabbatical is to give my body a chance to recover from security gropings, airline schedules, hotel loneliness, and performance pressure. These weeks will allow me to continue my ministry when most people have retired.

Why haven’t I retired? Because what I am doing makes a difference and I still have a lot of energy left.  Also because I can see another ridge I want to climb.

Life is not a race. It does not have a winners circle, it only has a finish line. Pace yourself so you can make it all the way.

Be Careful Going Down Hill

My most dangerous falls have taken place when the going is easy. After almost five hours of hiking “dangerous” high country yesterday, I fell walking down the gravel road to my truck.

I was almost home, going too fast when I lost my concentration, stepped on a rock that rolled from under my foot and down I went. The journey of life isn’t over until you’re finally home.

Whatever your journey I pray that you will revel in the peaks and the valleys and remember the One who is with you every step of the way.






  1. This is so simple and so beautiful. I am going to hang it up where I can see it daily. Thank you for this wisdom and I hope all was well for you after the stumble on the rock.

  2. Just what I needed to hear this morning as my husband and I get ready to take our cabin sabbatical …(ever been too tired to take some rest?!)

  3. Having only returned from a wonderful 3-week visit to Colorado, I enjoyed your presentation. I could picture the hike. I know my life has had many peaks and valleys and I cherish the fact that I walk in the highs and lows NOT alone. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and reminding me I need to start every day with a conversation with my heavenly Father. I love your shows and your messages. Rest, and get ready to continue sharing life in all its comic formation and presenting God in such a way that everyone can understand. I pray you have many more years of ministry left! When will you be in the Brevard County, FL area? I would love to see you in person. God Bless.

  4. Glad to hear you like our state. For those of us who live here everyday we sometimes take for granted what we have. So it is good for a visitor to remind us.

  5. I love how you say to start your day with God’s word. It is his word and I will recommit to starting and preparing for each day’s journey in God’s word. Thank you for making us laugh and hearing the good word of the Lord. May God Bless you in YOUR journey. Watch out for loose gravel!

  6. What wise words I so needed to hear this morning! In a little while, I’m headed over to my Mom’s house to be with her all day as she deteriorates from cancer. A huge, rainy valley right now, but you’re right, the blessings still come pouring in through the rain and the uneven trail we are following. The hardest part for me is the fact my mother does NOT know Jesus, nor does she want to. Please pray for Virginia. The Lord loves her so much more than I do, and that’s a great deal.
    Thank you, Ken. YOU are one of the Lord’s Blessings to me every single day.

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  8. Yes, I need these gentle yet firm reminders of what is really important each day of my life. I find that when I leave that alone time out with the Lord, there is always something missing in the inner part of my life. We are going through a lot right now with family and changes in insurances and health. Not fun…yet am committing each to the Lord for His leading and guiding, wisdom and insight…even though I would love to throw all this stuff to do out into our pool! Thanks for this second sermon.

  9. Right now I think I am really struggling with my relationship with God. A lot of times when I read something like what I just read by you I get even more upset. I think the reason why is because I think that I have anger towards God. I hate my life and the choices that “I” have made. But I can’t help but think that I would be a different person today if God would have protected me from abuse as a child. But then again I know that there is free will and everything and that God doesn’t cause bad things to happen. BUT, I still seem to get angry at God.

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