The image I have with this blog post is of the resistance knob on my stationary bike. It gets used quite a bit as I cycle to various online cycling classes. I must admit, I don’t like it when the instructors say that we are going to do a hill. Of course that means more resistance. Ugh!
Why do I resist resistance???? After all, in the context of a cycling class, it’s meant to make me stronger and healthier. More resistance makes me use more muscles and gives me more of a cardio workout. How I look forward to when we can take the resistance off!
Resistance is meant to hold us back. In cycling, it does. However, the opposing force from me is to push harder through it. Resistance is meant to make things harder, so that in the end, we feel more accomplished. We pushed hard and maybe even pushed ourselves beyond our (self-imposed) limits! Ironically, resistance, which is meant to hold us back, gives us the ability to see more of who we are. It can force us to go where we have not gone before, to new territory. When we engage it.
Where have we encountered resistance in our lives? At work? At home? In our marriages, relationships, friendships? Where have we been called to push harder against a force, a resistance, that is trying to hold us back?
I wonder if the resistance we often face in our lives might be something that comes from within. Might it be our own inner critic, our own self, trying to hold us back? The resistance to maybe try something new? The resistance to having a difficult conversation with someone? The resistance to leave a job for something new? Resistance call us to back down. Resistance can be very creative. It can make us fearful, even paralyzed. It can make us see a distorted reality where we fail, or hurt another person, or get hurt. Resistance shows us the darkest outcome and really sells us short. We can’t do it. We will fail. We will screw it up….big time.
What would it be like if we, like the knob on the bike, engaged the resistance when we found ourselves up against it? What might we learn about ourselves and our abilities if we engage, rather than run away from, the resistance? When I am asked to turn the resistance up on the bike, my inner critic can say, “Not this time. Let it go for now. You’ll get it next time.” Of course, that voice and message will be there next time too. Instead, I try listening to the voice that says, “Wow! Let’s do this! Let’s see how far we can go this time!” Both voices are there. I am choosing for the higher truth. Resistance is an opportune moment, a crossroads, where I am asked to either turn back down or push ahead.
I often wonder if resistance might be a God moment that is calling us to an experience of greater and deeper life? I wonder if these moments are invitations to new life, to learn something new about another person, about our strengths and abilities, about who we are?
Next time you are in the midst of that resistance knob being turned in the positive direction, ask yourself: Do I want to go with this resistance or do I want to back off? Am I willing to go to a new place of knowing and experiencing myself and my world? Or do I just want to back down and let my life continue as it has been? We are expansionary creatures meant for growth in so many ways. Why let that resistance push back to what we know, when we can push ahead into a new frontier, a new place of discovery, a new level of strength, a new level of resistance? Maybe it’s an invitation to that line from Star Trek: To boldly go where no one has gone before.