resi-STANCE

Earlier this year, I vowed to myself that I would always say yes to the crazy things I didn’t believe that I could do or that I have never done before. Because of this vow, I ended up taking some amazing trips, stepped outside of my comfort zone in ways that shocked myself, and said yes to a lot of crazy workout plans…

Yes, workout plans. Which is why a couple weeks ago I shimmied my way into a spin class at my gym for the first time… ever. It was run by an extremely excited woman with really good legs. I really didn’t understand how someone could be so excited about cycling in one place in a hot, dark room, but we all have our “thing” I guess. As I looked around the room, there were people of different shapes, sizes, age, and gender, but the one thing they all had in common is that they all seemed like pros. They looked comfortable on their bikes, brought towels and cute water bottles, and even knew each others’ names!

I don’t know what it is about me, but I hate being the “new girl” in the room. Maybe it’s my pride of wanting to be the best or my perfectionism that wants to look like I have it all together, but regardless, the feeling of not knowing what the heck I’m doing 1. is terrifying and 2. makes me feel so dumb.

I felt an instant jolt in me to run out the doors, but after locking eyes with the instructor, I felt obligated to stay. So I mounted my  stationary bike and followed the class through the standing, sitting, shifting, cycling, and turning of resistance knobs.

Mid-way through I was getting so discouraged. I felt like I was ready to pass out, while everyone else is still spinning ferociously around me. “Turn up the resistance!” my instructor would chime cheerfully, but I felt like if I turned that knob one more time, my legs might explode. As I looked around, no one else was turning theirs up either. It’s why granny on the other side of the room was able to go so fast and I was struggling- my resistance was higher. It burned. It sucked.

Truth be told, my life looks like this. I often look around and see a lot of people going faster than me. They are graduating earlier, getting the jobs of their dreams, beginning to date and get married. They are watching their ministries flourish, their dreams and visions come to fruition, and they’re receiving revelation every time they open the Bible (while sometimes I’m struggling to even read!!). I’m discouraged. I feel stuck. I feel like the resistance on my life bike is terribly high, and all i can think is, “what is wrong with me?”

“What is wrong with me?” is a thought I hear frequently. Am I not good enough? Not strong enough? Not smart enough? Not pretty enough? Do I not have what it takes? Am I too much? Too little? The list can continue forever…

And maybe you’ve heard these thoughts too. Maybe you are entering this season and this new year and you are feeling like me- your resistance is up and the only stance you want to take on it is lying down. In your bed. Going to sleep. Escaping it all and not having to push through.

You have tried so hard time and time again to achieve that goal, that dream, that ambition, but something is always holding you back. You feel like your race is harder and going faster takes more effort. You don’t feel good at it. You don’t feel as smart. You aren’t as talented. You aren’t as… (fill in your not good enough adjective here).

I get it. I do. But in that cycling class I believe that God taught me the most valuable lesson on resistance and my stance on it: No one gets better without resistance. Think about it… to build muscle and to get stronger, we must turn up our resistance, right? It only makes sense. In the cycling class those who had no resistance went faster, but they weren’t GROWING any muscle, they were only moving.

When I hop off my life cycle, I don’t just want to move through my life. I want to GROW. I want to grow character and strength. I want to learn what it means to have endurance and stamina in the times that I want to give up. I want to embrace my resistance.

So no more convincing myself that I’m not good enough just because I feel resistance in my life. No more backing down and being a coward when the knob gets turned up on my cycle. No more taking out my measuring stick and looking around for comparisons.

Instead, I will face opposition and resistance head on. Ready to push through and ready to fight, knowing that on the other side of it is growth. Growth that may not feel good or make me look good in the sight of others, but will stretch me and prune me into the person I am called to be. It won’t be pretty, but it WILL be worth it.

Here’s to another year of rising up against resistance.

What’s your stance?

Ceeeeeleebrate good times… C’mon!

Parties are my favorite thing to fill my planner with. I love grabbing my markers and different colored pens and scribbling in events- whether it be birthdays, weddings, graduations, etc. I love the idea of celebrating others and buying things that make them feel special. I love writing notes and showing up and dancing and eating cake… Lots and lots of cake. I love everything about celebrating.

Could you imagine if you were having a party, though, and someone came in trying to make it all about them? They brought their own decorations and their own food. They start hanging up banners over yours and rewriting their name on your cake. They bring all their friends and family, and then suddenly your party ain’t yo’ party any longer.

I would feel so hurt and confused and end up crying or leaving… or both. YET, I realized recently that in my own life, I was that person. I was the party crasher.

Whenever someone would come to me with good news or something exciting that happened in their life I would immediately think, “Well God, why aren’t you doing that in my life? What about me?” or “God, I had been working so hard for this, and THEY get it first?!”

I thought that God was like Santa and had just “forgotten” to pass by my house on his way to drop off some blessings. Not only did it make me feel like I deserved something, and God was holding out on me, but it also made me feel the need to compete with whoever was standing in front of me.

That competition always looked different. I would either “one-up the person” making their situation look smaller and mine look bigger. I would completely disregard their situation and change the subject because it made me feel less than. Or I would fake smile, play the part, and leave mad at God for him not giving me what I thought I deserved from all of my “hard work”.

To be quite honest, I was completely jipping each of my friends. The love I gave for whatever news they shared was fake and self-centered. I didn’t care what they had to say because I was too worried about comparing my own life to theirs.

In Proverbs 14:30 it says, “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” If you’ve ever had something rotting in your house, it STANKS. You can smell it from a mile away and you DON’T ever want to go near it.

In the same way, when we are jealous of our sisters around us, it shows. It shows in the way you begin to treat them, speak to them, and even in your body language, and it stinks. No one wants to be around someone who is ROTTEN with jealousy. No one wants to be around a party crasher. People want to be around others with hearts at peace.

What does a heart at peace look like, though? It means a heart content in where you are in life at the moment. It means not needing to compete with others, and it means being secure among others’ successes. You are able to support others without fear that they have stolen something from you or without feeling like their success has made you a complete failure.

A heart at peace celebrates. They are the ones that show up early to decorate the party and pick up the pom poms to scream from the sidelines. They are the ones decorating the cake, sending out the invites, and throwing on the jersey. They are the #1 fan. Because you know what’s the truth about celebrating someone else? It doesn’t take anything away from you.

When you cheer someone on through their good news, it doesn’t mean that you or your current situation is not good enough. It doesn’t mean something is messed up with your life, that God forgot about you, or that you will never get your own celebration. God has a purpose and a plan for each and every one of us. Your season could look like getting everything you’ve ever desired, having to wait for it, or having to accept the fact that you’ll never get it.

Regardless of where you fall along that spectrum, God is not withholding from you. In Psalms 84:11 it says that God does not withhold GOOD things from those who are walking with him. So, if it is GOOD for your season then you WILL have it, and if it’s not then you won’t.

Either way, trust God in the process. He’s molding you to be exactly the person he wants YOU to be. So, feel free to pull out your confetti when someone comes to you with good news. Find security in knowing that God’s got your best interest in heart. Their success does not = your failure. Ask God what he’s trying to teach you through it and be ready and willing to accept whatever answer you get, even if it’s no answer at all.

We serve a good God who loves us so dearly. Never forget that.

Side note: I know you don’t carry confetti in your back pocket to throw every time someone shares great news with you, so celebrate realistically. Write letters, pay for their meal, pray for them, buy cake and put candles in it just because, shout them out on your social media, hug them tight, cheer them on when they feel fearful throughout the process, send them random texts, serve them, but whatever you do… just love them.

I pray your celebrations and love for others is wide, deep, and genuine. You rock. Don’t give up. 💕