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Doing the Hard Things

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I wish my life was super easy. Smooth even. Some might use the term “blessed” (although theologically inaccurate!). I know I have an abundant life with good friends, colleagues, and family who bring me joy and often fill my life with laughter. I also know that in the midst of these good people and experiences, there are times when I have to stretch myself, to have hard conversations, to carry other people’s pain in a way I wasn’t expecting.

I imagine it’s this way for all of us. We see ourselves making progress, moving forward in life immersed in the flow, and then we hit a roadblock or something gets overwhelming and we crumble internally, if not externally. We get anxious, our immediate response is to look for a way out, and then if we’re super-stressed we make a bad decision to get out of what we think is causing us pain. Unfortunately, the thing we try to escape is often not the real problem. Confrontation is needed. And that confrontation is often with ourselves.

I love to run but haven’t been able to because of a nagging injury and muscle imbalance. The ‘Rona hasn’t helped since I’m sitting in a chair for hours at a time. As I was reflecting on my current physical condition, I realized I needed help. I didn’t have the expertise to get me to where I wanted to go. So I hired a personal trainer.

Right from the start I was questioning myself and my trainer. Are you sure I can do this exercise with my shoulder tendonitis? This seems like a lot of weight? Can we drop the plank hold times to twenty seconds instead of thirty? I didn’t realize how much internal dialogue I had around what I could and couldn’t do. The point of hiring a trainer was to get strong again, and my bossy mind was fighting it every step of the way. I had to confront myself and do the hard thing.

Against the wishes of my bossy mind, I put myself in the capable hands of my trainer, for whom I do have a tremendous amount of respect and trust. Five weeks later I am bench pressing half my body weight and deadlifting almost my body weight. I am getting stronger, without injury. I haven’t lifted that amount of weight in over five years, so this feels like a minor miracle.

As my trainer and I debriefed after my last workout, she congratulated me on my progress. Out of my mouth came, “I am reminded that I can do hard things.” Confidence often takes me by surprise, and this anecdote is a recent example of this. I am reminded that when I feel physically strong, I often feel emotionally and mentally stronger, which helps me do the hard things in life.

This is wisdom to me, wisdom that I need to remember.

Question to ponder: What helps you do the hard things in your life?

Stay curious friends!

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