By Sister Mary Scholastica, O.C.D.
No one likes to be told what to do, when to do it, or how to do it. When this happens, something inside of us puts up resistance, it’s almost like an instinctive reflex. Even little ones seem to thrive on saying the word “no”!
It’s hard to pin down what triggers our feelings of resistance. We resist the things we should do because we don’t feel like doing it – getting up in the morning for starters or other good things such as exercise and healthy eating. Someone rubs us the wrong way and to smile at the person or to make amends is the farthest thing from our mind. We resist the initial thought that would move us to go beyond ourselves. We wake up grouchy and it’s so much easier to be grouchy and ruin everyone else’s day around us than to resist acting on our negative feelings. If someone says something in a way we don’t like, we resist the message even if it was something that would have beneficial to us. This happens all day long! At least it does for me.
Can you imagine one day lived without an ounce of this kind of resistance? Just one day. To be that docile, that open to the movement of the Holy Spirit at work in your life, that you’re willing to receive any and all things as coming from Him and to move and respond accordingly. Wow.
In a normal day, it’s like we walk around ready to put up a wall just as soon as we feel a prick in an area that we don’t feel like addressing, or an area we want to protect. Which, honestly speaking, is often tied to our ego. It really is true. We think the world revolves around us. And why not? After all, we only really know ourselves (and even there, not too well!) and our own perspectives and feelings. It’s also so much easier that way.
And then there’s the other kind of resistance – the good kind. All throughout life, our world, with our bodies there is a resistance that’s needed to live life. It strengthens, builds up, stretches us beyond our space of comfort. These examples aren’t the most accurate, but I’m noting it in the broad sense to communicate the general idea. Muscles need resistance to get stronger, seeds of plants need fire (directly or indirectly) to germinate, the caterpillar that needs to fight its way out of the cocoon to transform into a beautiful butterfly, and the list goes on.
It’s the balance of engaging in the right kind of resistance. Fighting against the resistance that holds us back and opening our doors to the resistance that helps us grow.
Removing the bad kind of resistance moves us into a different realm of engagement in our lives – with people, with what we see to be God’s will at work. There are no walls that shoot up instantaneously. Which means that we don’t need to work so hard to tear them down. The walls keep out the sunlight and fresh air. We see all things coming from God which means we also don’t move in the space of fear and self-concern. We move in the space of freedom. We see people not as barriers but as instruments in God’s hand. Meaning, they are the ones who help us grow and be transformed. That’s how we see them. That’s how we choose to see them.
Wholeheartedly jumping into the good kind of resistance also moves us into a different realm of engagement in our lives – with people, with what we see to be God’s will at work. It is an opportunity perspective, an abundance mindset, an ability to see that the good, the bad, and the ugly all have the potential to make us more fully the person God has called us to be.
So in the future, when we feel a sense of resistance building up, know that those are the moments where the good Lord is ringing a bell and making things super obvious for us. Clearly identifying the areas where He knows many graces lie hidden. And in our engagement, we will find ourselves stronger, healthier, and more fully alive.