My oldest kiddo begins cross country running soon, and so we set out on a mother/daughter jog last week to train. It’s funny how time flies. When she was little, she accompanied me in a stroller. Then, she rode alongside on her bike. Now, we run together.
It makes my heart full.
However, I am not confident that she shares my sentiments yet. After all, the stroller and bike stages required less effort on her part. Each “upgrade” involved pressing through resistance and extending herself just a tad more.
Nevertheless, about halfway through our run, she made up her mind to press through resistance again. I could feel the switch flip as she hit her stride.
Stride is a little drop of magic that resides on the other side of resistance.
The past eleven months somehow changed our collective stride. With events canceled, some people working from home, school on-line, sports suspended, theaters and churches closed, and food delivery options, it somehow became a tad less necessary to exert so much effort.
In other words, there was less of a need to polish our shoes.
And we were excused from careful attention to things like shoes because, on many days, socks became good enough.
On the one hand, not polishing our shoes may have signaled an end to hectic routines. In that regard, it may have come as a welcomed shift when showing up required less.
Living in a multi-tasking, overscheduled rhythm with no white space is not sustainable. In those situations, we are invited to press through the resistance to embrace rest. We all need to flip the switch “off” occasionally. It is a critical practice to do “on” well.
We all need an intermission because stress without rest will weaken the system.
On the other hand, it is good to stress the system periodically so that autopilot doesn’t produce atrophy. A little effort is a good thing. There are times when we hear the call to shift out of neutral or otherwise stretch ourselves a bit further.
Pressing through resistance builds resilience.
As it turns out, we all receive that occasional small, gentle nudge to forge through resistance. Our best coaches and mentors are helpful in this regard. They sniff out “stuck” and push us past our plateau.
After all, resistance surfaces in so many areas of life. It regularly disguises itself as convenience, fear, comfort, routine, and “good enough.”
Now don’t get me wrong, “good enough” often lives up to its name. Comfort and convenience are not inherently wrong, and routines can bring helpful rhythms.
Yet, occasionally we are invited to reach a little farther or otherwise break out of the spaces we have outgrown. So we “polish the shoes” and return from intermission. We all have a tune to play.
Although rolling through resistance requires something of us, the truth of the matter is that little moments of life-giving freedom await on the other side. It’s the bud that presses through resistance to emerge from its enclosure and into colorful bloom. The world fully experiences the flower’s whole essence of color and scent as it does so.
As resistance hits each of us differently, forging a way forward is a journey of discernment. For some, it involves heeding the call to rest. Flip the switch off. For others, it is following the call to move, connect, rise, or otherwise shift out of neutral. Flip the switch “on” because intermission is over.
In other words, for many of us, it is time to polish the shoes.
About the Author: Jen Macnab can be found reading, writing, running, and raising backyard chickens with her family. Jen also serves part-time with the local seminary. Find her at Toward Thriving, LLC.