Grace Under Pressure

An unexpected vision

Revealing an extraordinary destiny

Sending a hero on down a wary path

Quickly condemned by the worst of minds

Misunderstood by even the best

Trudging, pressing, facing forward

Unwilling to bend or relent

Until the prophecy’s fulfillment is in hand.

.

This is what faith is:

Grace Under Pressure.

Bingo.

Last weekend was our annual youth leader Christmas party. As one of our traditions, we play Bingo for prizes. It’s always fun to watch people who have spent the whole year teaching teenagers principles of Christian discipleship trying not to lose their religion while waiting for that one number they need to come up. 🙂

This year one of the prizes we played for was a $50 Visa gift card. When I heard that prize mentioned I claimed it for myself. I could use it for Christmas gifts! The game we played for that prize was a “T” — trying to get the top row across plus the middle row down. I started off slow, but suddenly I realized my “T” was almost complete — I just needed one space in the middle. I was waiting and praying for it when someone else yelled out “BINGO!”

Oh well. I came to enjoy the party, and I wasn’t going to let not getting that prize ruin it for me.

A few rounds later someone suggest we play “4 Corners”. That game seems to take longer because you’re only looking for numbers in two columns (and you have to disregard every number that comes up that doesn’t apply to those two columns), but at the same time, each person is only looking for four numbers, so it could actually be over pretty quick. I started off the same way as before, with a bunch of blank spaces, and then suddenly needing only one. I didn’t want to get too excited, but I did start calling for my last number under my breath.

The next number? O64. Bingo.
The prize? $50 Cash.

You’re number may not always come when you think it’s about to or when the options seem greatest. But don’t get down, and don’t give up, because what you prayed for is on its way.

Row.

The boat rose in the water as the wave washed against it. The boat sank. Always a little higher, then a little lower.

But still he continued to row.

The sun rose in the sky, far in the distance. It circled over him, flooding his senses with light and heat. And then it sank.

But still he continued to row.

He’d been out at sea for hours. Days. Months. Years. Minutes. Interminable. He had no idea how long it had been.

But still he continued to row.

He was surrounded by water — a blue dream-like ocean of nothingness, as far as the eye could see.

But still he continued to row.

There was nothing to go back to, and no destination he could see. It was as if he strained against a static backdrop of perpetual futility.

But still he continued to row.

The straight line of the horizon broke its seamless form. Almost imperceptibly, the distant future in front of him began to take shape.

And determinedly, he continued to row.

“My Old Nemesis — Stairs.”

Last week, I decided to go for a walk after my workday had ended. As it was pouring rain outside, I figured the next best option was inside, using the stairs of course. I set my timer for thirty minutes, found an appropriate set of flights, and prepared for a decent low-impact exercise.

I made it ten minutes. I walked up four floors, then back down, and then halfway up again. And then I was exhausted, and honestly, a little nauseous. I felt silly, but I called it a day. My legs quivered like jello as I carefully made my way to my car to go home.

You might be surprised, but I’m counting that as a win in my exercise column. Why? Because it’s exercise. And really, any exercise is more than I’ve been getting. For the past several months, and years before then, I’ve been at the complete mercy of exercise Resistance. Not the strength conditioning factor, but the factor that reduces my will to exercise to pretty much nil.

I’m currently reading Steven Pressfield’s “War of Art,” which an amazing little book that talks about Resistance — what it is, how to recognize it, and what to do about it. It’s made me realize just how much I’ve been a thinker instead of doer. I constantly think about doing things; planning and analyzing at the expense of actually accomplishing anything. But if I actually want the results that should come from my plans, I’m doing to have to enact those plans.

So I count those ten minutes on the stairs as a win, because I beat the Resistance to exercise, even if only for ten minutes. The next time may be longer, but as long as I’m winning against the Resistance, I’m eventually going to win out against everything else. So look out stairs — I’m coming for you.

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