Did you know that the steepest street in the world is found in Dunedin, New Zealand? The street is named Baldwin St., after William Baldwin who subdivided the area. He must have been quite a steep guy!
The incline is 161.2 meters in length, climbing a vertical height of 47.22 meters. This results in an average gradient of 1 to 3.41, with the steepest section having a gradient of 1 to 2.86 (19 degrees or 35%).
In more understandable terms, the street rises from 30 meters above sea level to 100 meter above sea level in 70.6 meters. Quite steep don’t you think? I sure wouldn’t want to drive my rental car down (or up!) that street!
But what do people do with such a steep street?
You wouldn’t believe the many activities offered here. In the summer (generally in February), during the “Baldwin Street Gutbuster” festival, athletes compete in foot races to the top of the street and back. I think I would prefer sliding down to running up!
In the winter (July), a huge charity event is conducted here. About 30,000 Jaffas (spherical, candy-coated chocolates), each sponsored by someone, are rolled down the street. The grand prize winner, the one who’s Jaffa arrives at the bottom of the street first, earns a trip overseas (keep in mind that everything is “overseas” in New Zealand)! The kids line the streets, devouring the non-winning Jaffas, no matter what condition they find them in.
Then there are private entrepreneurs who do the unthinkable, like going down the street in a chilly bin (a wheeled cooler). One of the first daredevils to try this ended up dead, while the other one sustained serious head injuries. Another three travelled up the street in a chilly bin that was being pulled by a car. These three were charged with disorderly conduct. You have to watch out for those chilly bins, if you know what I mean!
The latest daredevil rode down the street on one wheel of his motorbike on January 2, 2010, the day after we left New Zealand. Surprisingly, he survived the trip alive.
It’s amazing how people have so many different desires. But are all these desires what we really want? I’m sure that most of these chilly bin daredevils regret having even attempted such endeavors!
Jesus asks us this very question in John 1:38: “What do you want?” NIV
What are we really looking for in life? What are our true desires? This is a question we can’t take lightly!
The only way to find this out is to set aside all of our distractions (except the essential duties, like paying bills and drinking our eight cups of water!), and to concentrate upon doing only what we really desire.
I know that the thought of giving up some of the things you have held on to for years may cause panic to invade your souls, but take a second to listen to that sense of dread. It’s trying to tell you something. There is something beneath that terror that you need to discover.
If your emotions overwhelm you, you may need to take a different approach: resist those indulging desires for 30 minutes longer than you usually do, no matter where they are trying to pull you to, may it be the fridge, the bar or the bedroom. Let that desire become more acute, but don’t give into it. Feel it, but don’t let it dominate you.
Now when you are at the point of breaking, ask yourself honestly what you are desiring. You just might be quite astonished what you will find out. “What I am desiring is not ________________ but ________________.”
Few of us take the time to discover the “true desire” that lies hidden beneath the desire. But the more familiar we become with our real desires, the less prone we’ll be to impostors!
Remember the Pharisees? They indulged daily in their desire for overabundant religious activity, and their desires mummified their true desires to the point that they couldn’t even recognize God when He stood in front of them!
“You should have as little desire for this world as a dead person does. Your real life is in heaven with Christ and God.” (Col 3:3-4 TLB)
Forget about jogging up Baldwin Street. Should I persist with my “chilly bin” kind of ideas? Or should I indulge in those Jaffas? Maybe one day I will win that overseas’ trip I’ve been dreaming about …
(To access the entire “Fearless Victory!” devotional series, please click here.)