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.