No pain, no gain. AKA, the opposite of the story of my life.

When I was little my mom used to recite a little mantra she said she heard from the Marine Corps: “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” In other words, when a situation becomes a major challenge, the mature, resilient and determined among us rise to the occasion to meet that challenge and fight to overcome it.  I don’t think I really understood what that meant then and I certainly didn’t have an appreciation for the character trait my mom wanted to develop in me.  I already thought I was tough. I didn’t think I needed to worry about it. But I have learned something:

I am not tough.

I’ve taken the easy path in life at nearly every turn.  I haven’t really fought hard for anything.  All these years spent thinking that I was tough have been eroded by one challenging situation after another.

Then a month ago I sat down and turned on a show on Netflix called Surviving the Cut.  Here’s a clip from one of their shows.

I wish I was as tough as these guys.  Hell, I wish I was half as tough as these guys.  But what stood out to me in one episode was a statement made by the instructor.  It went something like this: “I’m not out here yelling at these guys and putting them through all of this because I enjoy inflicting pain on them. I’m here to test them and see what they’re made of; I’m here to show them what they’re made of and turn them into better, tougher soldiers.” (<–big time paraphrase)

I have sat there many times wondering what on earth God is doing in my life with all these challenges and little or no sign of relief.  I would not have said it like this, but I just wanted him to make it all stop.  Can you relate to that?  I didn’t actually believe that’s how God should have treated me or how he normally works in times of trouble; but I absolutely wanted it to be that way.

So lately I have spent time thinking about words like endurance, steadfastness, and toughness.  I think God has been teaching me the need to be strong and courageous. So I have decided that I need to develop these traits and even going so far as to train for a race called Tough Mudder.  It’s not all about being physically tough, but I firmly believe that our minds, bodies and spirits are interconnected.  The process of getting into great physical shape would certainly impact the other areas as well.

How about you?  Do you think you’re tough?


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