Building Strength Requires Resistance

Spending what feels like a lifetime hanging out in gyms I’ve learned this one hard and fast rule: Resistance is a requirement to build strength.

This week my husband and I have learned that lesson yet again but this time outside the gym.

This past Friday (just yesterday) he heard the words no man wants to hear from the company he has poured the last few years of his life into, We’re eliminating your position. It would be easier to take had he done a subpar job. But quite the opposite is true. He grew his division within the company every year for three years. And we have the bonus checks to prove it. So I am not looking for sympathy. And you’ll see why…

And this is not the only thing that has gone wrong for me in the last few weeks. But I also didn’t come here to complain.

Life has been interesting the last few weeks. But somewhere in the middle of it all I have felt God whisper to me. First, he lead me to books, podcasts, online retreats and friends that lift me up. He put in front of me the idea of picking a word for the year. Mine is not one word but two: Stand up.

I was supposed to be at a silent retreat at Mercy Convent this weekend. An entire day to be silent and listen. I felt bad that I missed it. How can a person miss an opportunity to pray at a time like this? As I ran on the treadmill today I felt God assure me, I heard you the first one hundred times you prayed, in fact I heard you the first time. This is not what it looks like! This is not a time for prayer, it’s a time to act. Stand up! This is Me answering you.

A few days ago I read the book The Travelers Gift by Andy Andrews, if that isn’t God preparing me I don’t know what is. Andy leads you through times in the lives of people we know today to be famous in history, like Christopher Columbus whom everyone thought was a loon, Abraham Lincoln who’s conviction that all men are to be free led him through a war, and Anne Frank who we all know choose to be happy among some of the worst circumstances humanity has endured.

So today I woke and I knew I had a choice. I had a choice to allow myself to feel like a pinball in the game of life or to know that I have a say in my fate. I knew it was not time to sit down and cry, it was not time to pray, I’ve been doing that for years. I was time to stand up.

As I lay in bed this morning not wanting to get up and wake Rob I was running all of this through my mind. And this sentence slapped me in the face…my smiling face.

“This is the beginning of a great story.”

I thought of all of the adversity that those lives I had read about had not only endured but prevailed through. I thought about Abraham Lincoln giving the Gettysburg address just after losing a son and about to lose a second. I thought about Anne Frank hiding from Nazi soldiers, and I thought about my dreams. I thought about the ones I’ve already had and tried and failed at. I thought about the ones I’ve had that went well but were not made to last a lifetime. I thought about how that may look to others…and then I thought…I don’t care. I may chase dreams but at least I’m chasing. At least I’m acting. At least I care enough about something to do something about it. Consistently.

So after Rob woke up I shared my new mantra with him. This is the beginning of a great story.

I read him the stories of men who have been fired from massive corporations…publicly…doing the right things. Did I mention publicly?

When you’ve been fired you’re among great people.

I was watching a football game a few weeks ago and saw a story about a Head Coach that had been fired and a few days after his firing he received a shirt from John Gruden. It was a shirt for Gruden’s “Fired Football Coaches of America” group — “a hangout where his coaching brethren could come to watch film and talk football.” He was now among friends. I bet Gruden had to print a bunch of shirts over the last few weeks!

So today we dust off our knees and stand up.

Today we worked on our next dream. To own our own business. In fact we have been working on it for a while. Yesterday we just got pushed out of the nest. Maybe this one will last a lifetime, maybe not. But at the end we’ll know we tried. We gave it all we had.

This is the beginning of a great story. And I am ok if you think I’m crazy. Everyone thought Christopher Columbus was too! This week I see the resistance and I accept it. Because I know that resistance is the only way to build strength.


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