Taking it Back

During my time as a backpacking guide, I learned something profound from our camp directors: taking it back. We often talked about how Satan is quick to strip us of the things that bring us joy and hope, but because we are sons and daughters of the King, we have the authority and power to take back what the enemy stole.

But, what does he steal? Anything. Sometimes this is subconscious—we hand things over to Satan without realizing we are doing it. We trade our dreams, our truths and our worth and replace them with doubt, hatred and deception. It happens every day. And, we’ve been doing it since we were young, which means our Enemy is guarding a lot of treasure.

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.
— John 10:10

Thankfully, we know the story doesn’t end there. When Jesus died for us, he plundered the pits of hell and took back what rightfully belonged to Him and his people. And because God calls us his own, we have the authority to do the same; to get our truth back. This is hard work. But it’s the hard work we call redemption. We reclaim what is rightfully ours. This also happens every day.

I love climbing fourteeners (mountain peaks in Colorado that have an elevation of at least  14,000 feet). Sometimes, mid-climb when my hamstrings are screaming or mid-descent when my knees are giving out, I wonder why I love fourteeners. But I always end up back on the mountain, at it again, chasing the next summit. I’ve climbed eleven of my 30-something fourteeners with my husband, Travis. On about half of those, we’ve had a wonderful experience. On the others, well, not so much.

We climbed an early season fourteener this past summer. It was supposed to be easy, something to warm up our climbing legs. We came prepared with our gear, water, and food. But preparation didn’t seem to matter that day. There was still so much snow, that at one point, Travis was buried up to his shoulders and had to be dug out. The wind knocked us off our feet multiple times (and we’re not small people) and I fussed at Travis for being too slow. He waved me off, not fazed by my frustration, and continued to climb at his own pace.

Meanwhile, all I could think about was how mean and impatient I had been the last time I saw him.

Then we were separated on the descent, which sent us both into a silent panic as we crafted plans to call search and rescue. Meanwhile, all I could think about was how mean and impatient I had been the last time I saw him. When we finally found each other at the trailhead, we wept. Big wet, I-thought-I-lost-you-on-an-“easy”-fourteener tears. Our feet were sopping wet, our hip flexors were throbbing, we were weeping on a dirt road—a picture of defeat

On the way home, we agreed it would be a long time before we were ready to tackle another fourteener.

We attempted another climb as summer came to an end because we needed to reclaim what was lost (and because it’s our tradition to climb a final fourteener over Labor Day weekend). Remembering what I learned as a guide, I was determined to take it back. I wanted the joy of the climb back. I wanted the fun I have with Travis in the wilderness back. I wanted the effervescence of a successful adventure back. I wanted my connection with the Lord through His creation back.

And you know what? We hiked slowly. We stopped about 28 times awestruck by the unbelievable blanket of stars above us. We watched the sky change from shades of navy to shades of rose as the sun came over the ridge. We waited for one another and pushed each other with patience. Travis took a nap at the summit. We were kind to our knees on the way down. We laughed. We relaxed in hammocks at our campsite.

We got it back.

It was so redemptive for me and Travis, and it was also redemptive for my relationship with the wilderness. We reclaimed our treasure—we reclaimed what is so precious and dear to us about the backcountry. It was a blow to the enemy—he couldn’t slither his way into my marriage to disrupt it and he didn’t have a place in the intimacy I experience with Jesus in the backcountry. He thought he stole it from me, but I took it right back.

Knowing who we are and owning our authority begins with Jesus’ birth.

Now it’s December and the mountain peaks are covered in snow. We’re preparing our homes and hearts to celebrate the coming of our King. In many ways, Christmas is the ultimate in taking it back—because of Jesus’ life and resurrection, we are welcomed at the banquet table, anointed as Sons and Daughters. Knowing who we are and owning our authority begins with Jesus’ birth. This is the season to step into our authority and reflect on what was stolen…and what we want back.

What did you think was lost forever? What was taken in your marriage, in your family, in your friendships? What dream have you abandoned? What lie do you believe and own as truth?

You’re not pretty. You won’t be happy in your marriage again. You’re too much. You’re not enough. That dream will never come true. You’ll never have security. You aren’t wanted. You’re unlovable. Your sin is too great. Your shame defines you. You must rescue everyone. Vulnerability means you’ll get hurt. You can’t trust anyone. You must do everything yourself. You don’t deserve it. You’ll never feel joy again. You’re not worthy.

What is the lie? Is it subtle or so loud it’s deafening?

The truth is, you are the Daughter or Son of the most powerful and mighty King. And we have the permission, power, and authority to take back what the enemy stole.

Take. It. Back. It’s yours. Go get it.

When you go out to fight your enemies and you face horses and chariots and an army greater than your own, do not be afraid. The Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, is with you!
— Deuteronomy 20:1

Denver, CO

Maggie is a Colorado-native with Southern roots who loves climbing mountains and appreciates a cold glass of sweet tea. She is attentive to how the Lord moves and speaks in the wilderness and fights for redemption in every story. She works full-time for a marketing agency and loves to travel and backpack with her husband, Travis. Maggie is passionate about Beyoncé, the Tar Heels, and finding true freedom in Christ.