19,340 feet… It gets cold on the summit of mount Kilimanjaro. I know that. I have the facts. Rongai route approximately 50 miles up and down. Elevation gain approximately 13,000 feet. Altitude sickness can kill you. 6 days… 4 up 2 down. 5 climate zones… Gonna get hot, gonna get wet, gonna get cold… The mountain is in Tanzania Africa. Malaria, Yellow fever etc. I have read all about it and know most of the facts.
I have read the packing lists, and there are a lot of them and many different ones. (part of the problem) It is amazing how much head knowledge we can have about something and still be overwhelmed by the unknown.
This dawned on me when I was attempting to purchase all my equipment. Obviously I am on a TIGHT budget and am trying to figure out what I have in my closet already that “will work”. If I had all sorts of money I could read the list and just get all the “recommended” brands and items. Of course every recommended item is the top of the line and WAY outside my budget.
Enter the overwhelmed feeling with the unknown. What I am discovering is that there is a big difference in head knowledge and experience. I can read the facts about Altitude sickness but the reality is I have never experienced high altitude hiking. I can read about the temperatures on the mountain at midnight at 14 thousand feet but I have never experienced 0 to -15 with my current sleeping bag or my clothing.
Will this outer shell, these two fleece jackets one light and one heavier and this thermal base layer work or do I need a $300.00 parka. I have even talked to people at REI and am still overwhelmed by the unknown. I have the factual knowledge about the mountain but I lack the practical experience to have the confidence that my gear is right.
However, if I had an experienced guide in my life who was simply providing me with the perfect gear I would not question his or its ability to do the job required to reach the summit and my overwhelmed feeling would shift to something else… probably my physical ability.. which I am responsible for not a guide or outfitter.
This has made me think about other areas of my life… I can have all the knowledge about the Bible and God and Jesus. I can sit in church week after week after week and gain more facts and knowledge about the word of God and God’s call for me to go and make disciples. But I am overwhelmed as soon as I walk out the door due to lack of experience in the application of that knowledge and the use of the equipping I have received and am compelled to go get more knowledge.
However, we have the perfect experienced guide who has provided and equipped us with the perfect gear and everything we need for the mission we have been challenged with.
I don’t need more knowledge about the mountain. I need to put my clothes on and climb. I need to test my boots. I need to try on the gear and then I need to trust it and go stand on the roof of Africa.
I must say, even writing this down doesn’t remove the elements of fear and uncertainty. Those will only disappear in the act of climbing. However, Im compelled by the mission to climb. The mission is more compelling in my life than the fear of the unknown.
What unknowns out there are overwhelming you and keeping you from stepping out?
What keeps you from climbing your Kilimanjaro?
Chances are they will only disappear in the act of climbing?
Im having to figure out my gear… Spiritually we have the perfect outfitter who has equipped us with everything we need to fulfill the mission to which he has called us.
Put on what you know, take your equipment that God has provided for you (it is guaranteed to be top of the line perfect for your mission) and Go make disciples.