This week I tried a number of new workouts. I used to pay for a subscription to Beach Body, but I have found that YouTube has so many free workout videos that are just as good (if you need something new it’s a great place to look). By about Wednesday I could tell they were all new workout however because I was starting to get a little bit sore in a few places. It’s a good sore, but I started thinking again about breaking down in order to build stronger. Creating a strong body is a process of working the muscles to the point of fatigue so that they get the idea they need to build back stronger, as the muscles build back stronger, the bones also begin strengthening so that they can withstand the pressures of the added muscle. It’s a great process, and helps us see the reasoning behind hard things in life as well.
As I pondered upon this concept this morning again, I was thinking about personal struggles throughout my life, and a couple this week. Nothing huge or momentous, just things I have to work through sometimes. It’s not fun to go through hard times, but as I look back at where I began, I see so much growth and strength from those struggles. If I hadn’t gone through those incremental struggles all along the way, that seemed really hard at the time, I may not be able to withstand the struggles that cross my path today. Now, there are things that naturally happen in life that I can roll with, that I know how to handle, that 20-year-old me probably would have gotten really overwhelmed with. I am grateful for trials and challenges.
So many times, in life I hear people say that if God were real, He wouldn’t allow this or that to happen. Life is definitely hard. But that’s kind of the point. I’m sure sailing through life without a care in the world might seem like the perfect way to live, but how would you ever know to appreciate that kind of a life if you never experienced anything else? How could I appreciate being physically fit if I never had to struggle to get to that point? There is a purpose to the struggle, and even when we feel sore from the constant struggle, we can appreciate the fact that we are becoming better in some aspect of our lives. It doesn’t always make it easy, but it does give purpose to the struggle, which can help us look at the challenge differently, and not just endure, but endure well.
What are the things I do to help me through challenges? One thing I have learned from the workouts I do is that you can do anything for x number of seconds, or for a minute or a specified timeframe. It’s something I always hear when I work out, and it’s true. When we have a set amount of time, it helps us focus and get the most out of every second because we know it’s not going to last forever. And striving to get something out of the challenge changes the dynamics and makes it easier to endure. But sometimes trials seem to go on and on and on. What helps then? Eternal perspective. We aren’t going to be living in this fallen world forever, and with the next life come healing of all kinds, for everyone. Sometimes just that added personal perspective makes a huge difference in our ability to endure. One thing we read in the scriptures, and often just kind of skip over, but you find it all over the scripture, is the phrase – “And it came to pass…” Everything will eventually come to pass. This is one of the most comforting phrases in the scriptures, and it’s everywhere, because our loving Heavenly Father wants us to know it will all come to pass.
Viewing the hardship as a challenge to be overcome. Often when things get hard, we kind of grit our teeth and just try to endure. But when we start to see things as challenges to be overcome, we open our minds to possibilities. Maybe there is a solution, but we haven’t even thought to look for one because we chose instead to just keep our heads down and deal with it. Sometimes it takes persistent study, gaining more knowledge, things that we haven’t looked for. Challenges in life give us opportunities. I know that pain, hurt, injury, these are the times when I seek answers, when I look for information. I never learned anything about healing tendons until I broke my ankle and sprained all the tendons around my ankle. I never learned anything about eczema and how to treat it until I got it. I knew nothing about anti-inflammatory foods, and how inflammation affects every aspect of our bodies and health until I had to figure out how to reduce inflammation in my own body. And because of the knowledge I have gained in all of these and many other situations, I have been able to help my family through similar trials, feed my family better, and help people around me as they went through similar struggles.
We all have and will go through challenges and hard times. But they don’t have to be unproductive times, and they can not only benefit you over time, but people all around you as well, as you share your experiences and the knowledge you gained through the process.