It’s All In Your Head

by Rich Dixon on August 9, 2011

Have you ever been at a place where you thought you just couldn’t keep going?

I was cranking up a long hill last week. I felt hot and tired and thirsty, and the shade from that big tree looked awfully inviting. It felt like I couldn’t possibly make it to the top without stopping.

Internal dialogue:

Me: I can’t make it. I gotta stop and rest. I can’t keep going.

Some other voice, probably a long-forgotten junior high gym teacher: Keep going. It’s all in your head.

Guess what—junior-high-gym-teacher-voice was right. How do I know? Because I kept going and made it to the top.

So here’s the question: What exactly was in my head? The adversity was real. The sweat, thirst, aching muscles—those certainly were NOT in my head. But something far more destructive inhabited my mind, a pattern of thought that prevents me from riding as well as I’m physically capable.

I quit much too easily, not just in cycling but in life. I’m too quick to say “it’s hopeless,” throw up my hands in despair, and surrender. Somewhere along the line I learned to simply fold at the first sign of trouble.

I’m not sure I’m alone in this self-defeating thought pattern. Seems like it’s pretty common to stop halfway up the hill.

I hope this doesn’t sound like a “just suck it up” message. Certainly there are times when we reach the end of our ability to continue. I’ve been there a time or two, nowhere to turn, no more strength, end of the rope, no strength left to even tie a knot.

When you really can’t find a way forward, that’s when God shows up. When I really was hopeless, I kept going only through God’s grace. In fact, that’s the story of Relentless Grace. I had nothing left, and God provided.

But honestly, most of the time when I say “I just can’t keep going” it’s just like that day on the hill. It’s hard and I’m tired and I want an easier, more comfortable way to reach the top.

When that happens, I think God says, “Keep going. It’s all in your head.”

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds. Ephesians 4:22-23

I sense that He wants me to change those old thought patterns, to stop quitting when it’s difficult, to develop my character by facing my fears and pushing through adversity. I think He wants me to stop settling for “easy” and “safe.” I think He wants me to climb the hills I encounter in life because that’s how I get stronger.

I wonder what mountains I might conquer if I really trusted that He’d support me when I expended everything.

What do you think? Where are you stopping halfway up the hill?

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