I love hiking in the mountains. There is nothing like being surrounded by the sounds of birds chirping, only slightly muted by the sound of the rushing stream. I walk, stepping in and out of rays of sunlight peeking through the trees along the path. I take long deep breaths, taking in the smell of the evergreens and fresh air. My favorite part of hiking is going uphill. Sure, it is hard, but when I’m going uphill, all my energy and all my focus is concentrated on what’s around the next bend. My body feels the resistance of the hill, but it does not matter because whatever it takes, I have to make it to the top.
In my everyday life, going through my daily routine, I find myself looking for ways to avoid resistance. The problem is that means I am going downhill, faster and faster. My knees ache from the steep incline, my heart is racing as I stumble down. My body feels awkward and unnatural as I try to avoid tripping over rocks and stumps, seemingly strategically placed in my way along the path. What was a foothold on the way up is now a dangerous obstacle taunting my clumsiness on the way down.
Recently, I decided that I will no longer look for the deceitful path of least resistance. After years of falling prey to the lie that stumbling downhill is easier, I am finally ready to do whatever it takes to turn around and hike back up the hill. I will make it to the peak. I will.
Setting all metaphors aside, what does it mean and what does it look like to allow resistance into your life? We can start by simply opening our eyes. For so long, we have shut out the world, separated our faith from the rest of our life, and walked around pretending that being tough, hard, and cold is an appropriate way of interacting with the world.
Our world is resistant to moral values, resistant to God, resistant to personal accountability, resistant to truth. In order to fit in, we have accepted the lie that these things don’t belong in our businesses, in our schools, or in our government; they barely belong in our “let’s just feel good” churches. It is time that we resist the urge to shy away from these things.
Allowing resistance in our lives means that everything we do will be an uphill battle, but what is wrong with wanting to take the high ground? Society tells us that it is arrogant, foolish, and even self-righteous. So what? I don’t care what society thinks as it stumbles further and further down the path of selfishness and political correctness. For so long, all we have done is try our best to hold our ground and yell that everyone is going the wrong direction. Now it is time that we simply turn ourselves around and start walking back up the hill. I believe that if we start walking, many will turn and follow us.
What does it mean to walk back up the hill? It means that we run our businesses with a Christ-centered focus, remembering always that the resources God gave us are not our own but are to be used for the glory of God. It means that our teachers stand up to a system that says discipline, accountability, morality, and hard work have no place in our schools. It means that as an employee we go above and beyond our duties. We work hard and say no to the ever-alluring temptation of the easier path. It means that first and foremost we are parents, spouses, friends, and neighbors. Walking up the hill means acknowledging that it is ok to be successful and fulfill your dreams, but power is never an excuse to put others down, to stifle ideas, or to think that you are above bending down and pulling someone up. Walking up the hill, living a life of resistance, means that the world will see us live in righteousness but not in a holier-than-thou sort of way. I am going to roll my sleeves up and do whatever it takes to treat others with respect, to encourage rather than discourage, and to build up instead of tear down.