The Uphill Climb

The outdoors is a passion of mine and I love spending time in the wilderness. The quiet of the forest relaxes me and the smell of pine trees invigorates my soul. I enjoy taking long walks with God and having quiet time with Him. I seem to hear his voice so much better out in His creation. Our family likes to go hiking and explore different parts of our beautiful country. This summer we spent a week in Kanab, Utah and spent time in Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park and the Coral Pink Sand Dunes. Some of the hikes were easy, while others were much more challenging.

This year has been a difficult one for many of us. Some have taken major pay cuts, lost jobs, or seen their businesses get decimated due to mandatory shutdowns. We now are faced with an uphill battle to move forward with our lives and from the ground level view the task seems daunting or almost impossible. It’s like the first step in long hike up a mountain that’s two miles high and all we are thinking about is how there is no way we will be able to make it to the summit. I’m here to tell you that you can’t do it alone, because I have tried and failed. You need to put your faith in Christ to help you get there.

“Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.”

1 John 5:5, NIV 

Let Christ Take the Wheel

Nine years ago, I was in a similar situation that I am in now. Our family was struggling to make ends meet and I had a passion to work for a Major League team. Starting in August I made phone calls and sent emails to all thirty teams in the hopes to get interviewed for a minor league coaching position. Connor was only three and Bryce had just turned one. Taleen was working at our church and running Cactus Athletics was my full-time job. I had been interviewed for high school and college positions earlier in the year, but to my surprise I didn’t get job offers from anyone. As the calendar was about to turn to November no one was calling, and I started to get discouraged.

Then I made a bold decision to put all my faith in the Lord for a job to happen. I went on a seven day fast the first week of November and stopped contacting teams. I prayed harder than I ever had before and went on a crazy faith walk with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I lost 14 pounds that week and went through a myriad of emotions that brought me to my knees. I journaled through this time and those pages turned into the book, 7 Day Fast. I came to the point where I could no longer direct my life without the help of Jesus so I got out of the driver’s seat of my ’79 broken down clunker, jumped in Jesus’ brand new lifted Silverado, rolled down the windows, and enjoyed the ride for the next seven weeks. In the middle of December, the San Francisco Giants offered me a coaching position with their Rookie Ball team which I joyfully accepted. Stuff like that only happens when you give God control.

“Submit to God and be at peace with him; in this way prosperity will come to you.”

Job 22:21, NIV

Support from Others

Matt Duffy is a player I used to coach in the minor leagues when I was with the SF Giants. He wrote an excellent article a few years ago on The Players’ Tribune entitled “The New Kid”. In it he talks about when he first arrived in the big leagues and his new teammates told him “Don’t look up”. What was the first thing Matt did when he went out for batting practice that day?  You guessed it. He looked up. A year earlier Matt was in Single A and playing on fields that typically had only one level of stands. Now he’s taking BP at Citi Field in New York and there’s three levels, and that’s before it gets filled up with 40,000 screaming fans.

The one thing that helped Matt the most was his teammates. Major League veterans like Buster Posey and Hunter Pence came alongside him and made Matt feel accepted. They told him how the team needed him and to “Play Big”. It was this kind of support that encouraged him, which in turn allowed him to focus on doing his part. Matt didn’t have to try and do it all on his own. He became part of a team that eventually won the World Series later that year. Having a group of people you can rely on to support and encourage you is essential when you are in a difficult situation. You don’t need to do this on your own. Go to friends you trust, open up about what is going on in your life, and ask them for help.

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him”

Jeremiah 17:7, NIV
Billy Horton blog "The Upward Climb" photo

When we went to the sand dunes on our Utah vacation, our boys had a hard time getting back up the dunes on their own. Bryce has been blessed with a lot of God given strength but was so physically exhausted he couldn’t make it back to the parking lot on his own. I realized this was not one of those times for a “be a man” talks so I put him on my shoulders and trudged through the sand for about a quarter mile. My legs burned and shoulders got heavy, but this was my son and I was going to help him get to where he needed to be. Kinda reminds me of how Jesus carries us through the tough times in our lives. Put your faith and trust in Him and you will never regret it.

Here are some things to think about this week and consider applying to your life:

  • Put things into perspective when times are tough. 
  • Prioritize things and make the most important items first.
  • Surround yourself with a good group of friends who have your best interests at heart.
  • Take a risk on God and put your full trust in Him.

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One Comment

  1. Great testimony and I am proud of you Billy! In life things will always be hard but when going though the hard parts only makes you stronger but with The Lord’s guidance you will persevere! When looking out your rear view mirror in your truck remember that is how the small the past is and the future is in your windshield of what is going to come! Thanks for taking care of my boy when come over!