He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak … those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength … they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Is. 40:29-31 NIV)
My legs quiver as I step onto the sidewalk in front of my home. How can I launch out for a walk feeling so weak? I take a second step, determined to go forward with my plan to regain my health by exercising.
Obstacles. My motivation to exercise overpowers my temptation to stop. I gain strength in each additional step, as I begin my lesson in perseverance. But it will not be an easy journey. There are obstacles to overcome and goals to reach. Can I make it?
Resistance. Exercise, like other worthwhile endeavors, demands strength and stamina. The first morning I attempt my new exercise program, everything within me resists it, like opposite poles of two magnets. I would rather do just about anything other than exercise. So, on my first day out, I let temptation win. I stay home, and I feel guilty the rest of the day.
Failures. By the next morning, my previous day’s failure serves as my primary motivating force. So, I lace up my walking shoes, purchased just for this occasion, and jog slowly out of my garage. My first goal has been accomplished. And the next thing I know, I’m crossing the street facing the next block.
Intimidation. Okay, this is going to be a breeze, I think. But by the time I turn the corner, another fear presents itself, as if to try to stop me in my tracks. An all-male construction crew building a house nearby alarms me because of the recent crimes in my neighborhood. I’m fearful of walking in front of them. But I hold my breath and walk on. I move this obstacle out of the way, as I change my route and proceed in another direction.
Distractions. As I walk uphill, I become short of breath. When I slow down to breathe, a gray squirrel catches my attention. He’s busy burying an acorn in my neighbor’s yard. I watch him as I walk by. When I look up, I’m already at the end of the street, about to turn the corner to complete another block.
Goals. I continue to accomplish small goals as I walk. In a short while, I’ve gone far enough, and I decide to return to my home. My mind is cleared by the fresh air, but my body is affected by the exercise.
When I arrive home, I’m exhausted, but surprisingly refreshed. As I sit down for a cool glass of water before I shower, I recall the distance I’ve covered. I feel good about myself, and I’m grateful that I resisted the temptation to quit.
Strength. I find strength as I face my weaknesses each day. In 2 Corinthians 12:8, Paul tells us that the Lord’s “power is made perfect in weakness.”
Writing. I’m forced to face my fears and weaknesses in many other areas of my life, especially my writing life. Writing for publication also demands strength and stamina. So, we can expect to face resistance, right? With each new project, goal, or idea, we’re reminded of some past failure, rejection, intimidation, or distraction.
- Resistance – What fears do you face as a writer? I have a big list of my own.
- Intimidation – Even the best authors write shoddy first drafts, as Anne Lamott reminds us in her excellent instructional book on writing and life, Bird by Bird.
- Failures – Many famous authors were also rejected before making it big, like C.S. Lewis and F. Scott Fitzgerald. That’s encouraging, right?
- Distractions – We all have our own little foxes that nip at our heels. My little foxes happen to live in my neighborhood, and they’re always trying to get my attention.
Survival Tips. How do you endure setbacks in your writing life? I’ve learned a few survival tips on the walking trail and on my writing journey And as I face my fears and take one step at a time by faith, I’m able to go the distance.
And now, … one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received … Then the God of peace will be with you. (Phil. 4:8-9 NLT)
Where have your faced resistance in your life? How did you overcome it?