While playing soccer at a men’s retreat, I shifted my leg to avoid a tackle and ended up with a fracture in my tibia that required surgery to repair, a month of walking with crutches, and physical therapy to restore strength and mobility in my leg. At the time, my wife was seven months pregnant and my immobility put undue pressure on her as we were preparing for the birth of our first child.
This opposition though challenging became an opportunity to discover the value of deep relationships. With our pastor leading the way, our entire church rallied to our aid; from mowing the lawn to cooking to cleaning to grocery shopping, everything was taken care of.
We cannot deny the reality of opposition, or as author Steven Pressfield calls it, The Resistance. His rule of thumb is; “The more important a call or action is to progress, the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.” No path leading forward or upward is smooth. It is risky, dangerous, and there are adversaries. Expecting a bump-free ride is self-deception. There will be turbulence so you need to buckle up and hold on. Things will get shaky, and you might think you are on the wrong path when it’s riddled with potholes. The goal of opposition is not just to stop or maim you but to steal, kill and destroy.
When you are faced with adversity, are you still able to see the quality or value of the opportunity? It’s easy to let our opportunities become diminished in the face of opposition. Never look at your opportunity and opposition in the same light. If you try to equal out your opposition and opportunity, you will always see your opposition as greater, and be held captive as your fear will feed the opposition and give it power over you.
How do we measure our opportunity while staring at adversity? Always view the opportunity as profitable because of what it would produce. Let the value of the opportunity give you confidence that despite the adversity, acting on the opportunity is a necessity. What would happen if you took that opportunity you have been putting off because of the adversities you see? The only way to find out is to take the next step forward.
Looking at an ant through a magnifying glass makes it look bigger than it does in reality. The more you increase the focus on the lens, the bigger the ant looks. To what are you giving more of your focus; your opportunity or your opposition? Your energy will be committed in the direction of your focus. To what are you giving most of your energy? As you start to understand the value of the gifts that are in you and focus on the gifts, your energy to invest in them will be available. Your money, time, and energy are valuable resources that you should utilize for the things that will enhance and bring out the best in you.
I enjoy running because it clears my mind, helps me think, and reduces stress. I also like running while listening to music or a talk through my headphones. But at some point in my run, tiredness starts kicking in.
What will I focus on more? Finishing or fatigue? Continuing or stopping? When I focus more on the fatigue, my breathing changes. What was consistent breathing through my nose turns into labored breathing through my mouth. My chest burns, as I feel the fatigue and lean more toward it. Next, I think about how far I have come and the distance I have to cover to get back home. To be honest, there have been times I felt like calling my wife to come pick me up. Whatever I am listening to fades in the background as my focus shifts to how tired I am becoming. My confidence to finish wanes and my legs become too heavy to lift.
This all changes once I focus on finishing and the feeling I get when I finish. Although my legs do the activity, my mind is the engine driving the run. The mind has everything to do with running just like anything else in life. As I think more about getting to my front door and finishing my run, I dig deeper, and my energy level goes up. The music I am listening to comes back to the forefront and the weariness takes a back seat because I catch what people call “a second wind.” I feel like a new man, and my feet get lighter. As I focus on finishing, more energy is supplied for what I am focusing on. It feels as though the wind has turned in my favor and with every step I get closer to the goal.
Don’t let the opposition become your focus. It will steal your energy for the opportunity. You will find yourself worn out but getting no closer to your destiny. The opposition may not go away immediately, but run with it and eventually the finish will make it all worth it. Give value to the opportunity and feed it.
Give your utmost to the things that have an intrinsic value for you and will benefit the lives of others around you. Place a premium on what’s important. Feed it and nourish it with effort, commitment and discipline. The returns will be the victory over the opposition.
Share Corner: Please share a story in your life about an opportunity you have or had and the opposition you faced or are facing. What was (is) the opposition? How did you resist or how are you resisting the opposition to pursue the opportunity?
Task: Take an inventory of the things that fill you and drain you. In which category are most of your resources going to?
Keep on Keeping on!