Walls and Growth

I remember hearing a weird analogy a while back. I think the story could be on the internet although I did not get it from there plus the details are sort of sketchy. What I remember is that it did involve a man who was to push a wall. Time went by and the wall did not move and he got discouraged and started to question why he was pushing the wall in the first place. At the time he was making up his mind to give up the person who assigned him the task of pushing the wall came back and of course he lamented to the person of his woes and how his work was in vain since the wall did not move. The person then asked him to look at his arms and legs. For the first time he noticed the muscles he had developed that were not there before and the man said, “the wall did not move but look how much stronger you have become.”

When we go through a difficult period(s) in life and nothing seems to move the obvious assumption is that there has been no change. Everything on the external looks the same way it did when we walked into the new space and it is easy to say, “What is the point to all this?” Worry and anxiety can creep in and even cripple us to the point where we cannot move from the sad place we are in. Externalities are so important to our lives and more often than not they are the things we use to measure our progress in life. When old friends meet up they will ask questions and evaluate our progress based on what can be seen which at this point it would be right to say that the questions are really well meaning but it is also a sign of how important these things are to us. The first answers to the question, “How are you doing?” would warrant an answer backed up by a tangible thing. The response “I am fine” will need to be supported by either monetary or social status. After all are you really fine if there is no external factor to prove your well being?

Gauging accomplishments by physical standards is common place. There are instances in my life where I have been confronted by unchanged externals and the redeeming grace was when I remembered this story and I said to myself ‘but look how much stronger you are.’ At first it seemed like an excuse and almost laughable as if I did not want to take responsibility for my ‘clear’ inadequacies. The stray thought nagged at me until I critically looked at my life. How I react to circumstances had changed, certain view points were dropped and others had been adopted over time.

I saw that without the walls there would be no muscle. It is easy to desire the big stuff but the question really is, “do we have the muscle for it?” Walls of frustration and hopeless situations in our lives create muscle. The strength we have to handle what we do now can be attributed to all the things we went through in the past. Muscle takes time and hard work to build. Only a caring God would allow me to push a wall so that I can be strong enough to hold onto the weight of physical reward that He will give.

Seeing today means that we had strength and resolve to go through yesterday and does mean there is hope for tomorrow if we keep up the strength we have accumulated over time. Sometimes we should not look at the unchanging wall rather we should say to ourselves, “but look at how strong you have become.”

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