“The mind will give up before the body will."
I’ve found that this quote from one of my favorite fitness instructors has applied to me in areas that go beyond my physical well-being. The mind is a powerful vessel that has the ability to shape how we perceive situations and how we handle times of adversity. The mind has the power to drive us to make a certain decision, to utter a certain statement, or to express a certain emotion. We have the ability to pick and choose what we allow ourselves to believe. Disciplining our minds and owning our thoughts can lead us to having a more positive outlook in sticky situations. It will improve how we perceive ourselves as well as how we perceive others.
Spiritual and emotional strength requires the same amount of discipline as training our physical muscles because tension and resistance will occur throughout the entire process. Oftentimes our minds will trick us into believing that anything that causes us pain needs to be stopped. Anything that dents our emotions or causes any form of suffering needs to be alleviated. Besides, who likes to feel pain? Yet, in those moments of pain, suffering, and hardship, we will find that a beautiful process will begin to form and dwell within us: character change.
James 1:4 says, "Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." There would be nothing to persevere through if there is nothing resisting against us, and without resistance, we cannot grow. Without these significant opportunities for growth, we would run the risk of becoming stagnant and complacent. So in the process and in the waiting, and in those moments where we want to give up, let us allow ourselves to take advantage of these turbulent times. These are the blessings in disguise. Take in every feeling—whether pleasant or heartbreaking—and know that God is there to guide and support you the entire way. Once we decide to run forward even in our breathlessness, our characters will become strengthened and we will get that much closer to becoming the best version of ourselves. Through the violent breaking and tearing, and during our times of weakness, persevere through knowing that the resistance against us—though brutal and vicious—is still imperative to the growth of our character.
After persevering through the storms, we will find that the weights we once thought were impossibly heavy and burdensome can actually be lifted off our shoulders. The run that seemed so long can now be a form of relief and a testimony of our strength. The way to building our perseverance and controlling the thoughts that try to stop us from moving forward is through learning to embrace the resistance. Persevere, knowing that you own your thoughts and you own the strength God has instilled within you with His spirit. Pain really is temporary. It only lasts for a moment, compared to the lasting change that it brings to our character, if we learn to embrace it and not let it make us bitter.
God is still revealing our personal stories to us each and everyday, and will continually mold and shape us into becoming more and more like Him. God allows the enemy to bring resistance against us, but He assures that He will help us along the way. We, on the other hand, must do our job to allow ourselves to embrace the wears and tears that come with the resistance. If we discipline ourselves to persevere and keep the faith in terrible times, we will come out stronger than we were ever before.
This article was written by Maya Lee. Maya is a Care Group leader and a teacher residing in the Greater Los Angeles Area. For all inquiries, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.