The Struggle is Real!

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The Struggle is Real! | I grew up in the Deep South and learned to drive a stick shift when I was eight years old; for those under 50, some cars had manual transmissions, meaning that the driver had to change the gears.  In most cars nowadays, that happens automatically | #MargaretVasquezs #GrowingVirtue #ModelofHonesty #Friends #GrowingCharitytoUprootGreed #UprootGreed #GrowingCharity #TipsforConnection #GreaterPeaceJoyandfreedom #Joyfreedom #MargaretVasquezs #GrowingVirtue #ModelofHonesty #Friends #GrowingCharitytoUprootGreed #UprootGreed #GrowingCharity #TipsforConnection #GreaterPeaceJoyandfreedom #TheStruggleisReal!The Struggle is Real!

I grew up in the Deep South and learned to drive a stick shift when I was eight years old; for those under 50, some cars had manual transmissions, meaning that the driver had to change the gears.  In most cars nowadays, that happens automatically.  It was on old, unmarked dirt roads.  Driving underage and without a license isn’t something for which I’m advocating, but it was a great experience.  I loved everything about it.  Learning a new skill was fun, but in particular, there was something about the challenge itself that was exciting.

Fast forward to my experience of trying to teach adults to drive sticks.  It’s been surprisingly different.  Any adult I’ve ever taught has been apprehensive and has frozen when they stalled out.  Stalling out is common when learning to drive a stick.  The car doesn’t explode.  You don’t get ejected from the driver’s seat.  Aliens don’t take you to another planet.  You simply put the car in neutral and start it back up.  I began paying attention to a common difference in how we handle challenges as kids and how we do as adults.  It seems as though, as adults, we tend to have unrealistic expectations of ourselves that we should already know and be proficient at whatever the skill or knowledge is.  Many of us learning new things significantly trail off or stop completely when we age.

I realized I’d been doing the same thing a few weeks ago.  I lift weights and consistently avoid single-leg exercises because my balance isn’t great.  I couldn’t do those exercises without a struggle, and so I realized I wasn’t doing them at all.  We tend not to like doing or even attempting things we haven’t mastered.  The problem is that growth in virtue and breaking patterns of sin can require struggle.  If we avoid struggle in the physical realm, why would it be any different in the spiritual dimension?  I know the same applies to mental challenges.  Compare the number of kids who learn musical instruments or languages to the number of adults who do.  It can be a little more challenging since our brains prune parts we aren’t using.  At the same time, the brain is highly adaptive.

So, I started doing the single leg exercises, and boy, do I ride the struggle bus on these.  No doubt.  I’m doing them in front of others, too.  However, after embracing the struggle as a spiritual and physical exercise, I’ve come to – dare I say it! – enjoy them!!!  I can only do micromovements – approximations of the exercise I’m attempting.  I can already tell it’s creating some muscle memory, though, and I can feel in my legs that muscles are being worked in a way I hadn’t been able to tax them before.

To sum it up, the process of struggling can have many benefits.

  1. Challenges us to be non-critical/non-judgmental.
  2. Tests our humility.
  3. Gives us an experience of gains that can be made on the way to mastery and a value for the growth process.
  4. We can make friends with the idea of struggle. The carry-over can lead to struggling toward growth in charity, patience, discipline, and many other spiritual fruits.

If you feel like the struggle is real, embrace it!  Be compassionate with yourself, and enjoy the process!

May the Lord give you peace!

Margaret

 

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