Have you ever felt like time was standing still? I’m pretty sure time slowed to a crawl over the weekend when I begrudgingly went to the gym. There were a number of things I felt like doing but instead opted to do what I knew was good for me.  I’d made it to the last 20 minutes hoping to quickly knock out some time on the elliptical before heading home. I selected an interval workout (one that rotates between low and high resistance), and pressed go on the machine.

It didn’t take long for my internal chatter to kick in. How much longer? Really, it’s only been 5 minutes? Sigh. Each minute slowly ticked way. Then suddenly the resistance jumped back to the higher intensity. Ugh! I should just decrease the resistance, I thought. After all, it would make the rest of my workout easier and, the button that could do just that was right there on the panel – almost beckoning me to press it. I was tired and the relief would have been welcomed.

Despite really wanting to reduce the resistance, I didn’t. I realized that because of it, I was getting stronger and improving my endurance. The temporary discomfort was ultimately for my benefit. In life, resistance slows us down while making our progress harder. It can come in the form of unexpected challenges, difficult people, or tough situations. But, if we persevere, it leaves us stronger and more resilient. While I finished my time on the elliptical, my internal chatter provided insight into how resistance helps us in life.

Resistance shows you what you trust.

What do you grab a hold of or run to when life pushes back? Do you dig deep or press on, or do you retreat. When I was on the elliptical, I had a choice to avoid the resistance or to remember why I was there. In life, do we trust ourselves, our resources, and our faith to allow us to step out of our comfort zone and continue despite resistance? When we’re met with situations that challenge us we need to be careful to not run to food, bad habits, toxic people, or “the comfortable” as a way of avoiding what can help us grow stronger.  Evaluate what resistance causes you to reach for or run to.  I love the way Lewis Howes puts it – “We should make sure the things we do to feel better don’t make us feel worse.

Resistance often reveals our fear.

Sometimes our resistance is internal. Challenged by a difficult situation or perhaps a memory of something unpleasantly familiar, our reaction to a situation can be to shut down, retreat and avoid. While there are some situations it is healthier to avoid, we need to challenge ourselves and ask if we’re retreating out of wisdom or out of fear. Check your internal messages. Refuse to be the reason you’re held back from potential opportunities or personal growth.

Resistance reveals our strengths and weaknesses.

Situations that call for resilience and grit have a way of showing us our strengths and our weaknesses. We can tap into our experiences and successes from the past and reassure ourselves of how we’ve faced similar situations and come out on the other side stronger. We can be reminded of answered prayer and support that we gained from family and friends who helped us through when we didn’t think it was possible. In challenging times, tap into those memories and be sure to remind yourself of your strengths. It will help you stand more confidently in the face of adversity. At the same time, resistance can also reveal our vulnerably and our weaknesses. When it does, choose to allow the situation to show you opportunities for personal growth.

It’s your turn.

I managed to make it to the end of my time on the elliptical without reducing the resistance – a mini personal victory. I’ll take that little win and the lens it’s given me for looking at the other sources of challenge that I’m currently facing. How do you face resistance in life? When the going gets tough, how do you press on? My time on the elliptical has reminded me to watch my internal dialog – it can give us strength or cause us to quit. Choose how you talk to yourself wisely!

If you’re currently facing resistance in life, evaluate what gives you strength, act out of wisdom rather than fear and choose to grow through it. Just like time on an elliptical, it will get easier in time.

Have you found one of these benefits of resistance to be true in your life? Or, do you have others you can share. Click to comment, I’d love to hear from you!

Until next time. Be blessed!

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