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Running Against the Wind: Building Stamina and Resilience in the Face of Resistance

Updated: Apr 14, 2021

In the 1980s Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band had a song that hit #5 on Billboard's Top 100 called, “Against the Wind.” Seger said the song came about from his days as a high-school cross country runner. He described the song as "about trying to move ahead, keeping your sanity and integrity at the same time."[4] It doesn't just have to be about running.

It’s been eleven months since I lost my ministry job due to the Covid-19 financial crisis. I’ve not been able to find permanent employment during this time. Thankfully, I’ve had several contract coaching and consulting jobs and while I'm grateful for these and thankful that God has supplied, nothing substantial and certainly nothing permanent has surfaced.

Recently, I believed I had a position coming through that would change all that. Then came the email that said “We are going in another direction.” You know what that means. Sure, I made it down to one of three, but not one of two.

I thought to myself, “Well, at least I have the other possibility still open.” I actually wanted “this other possibility” way more than the one I had just lost out on. Sure enough, later that morning a phone call came from the place I really, really wanted to work. They said, “While I was high in every regard, they just didn’t believe it was God’s will to go any further with me.”

I get it. I’m not the right person for every position and not every place is right for me. But there is a point where I begin to wonder if any place will be right for me. (Yeh, I know it sounds a lot like whining here). Maybe it's me! Anyway, I stopped keeping count of places where I’ve applied after I hit 60 applications. That was months ago.I’m still applying. I’ll probably apply somewhere today after I post this. I keep going because I’m a runner and sometimes runners have to run against the wind.

Running against the wind for any length of time takes stamina. Stamina is the ability to sustain a prolonged physical or mental effort. We are not born with significant stamina, we grow it and it is not grown without pain. Resilience on the other hand is our ability to recover from a prolonged exhausting effort or a major setback. Stamina and resilience are both necessary in the world we find ourselves in today.

What hits me hardest is not the sustained effort but my waning ability to bounce back after a major setback, or a series of minor setbacks that pile up and just don’t stop. For me, it is like prolonged cross-country running against the wind. It takes great effort moving forward, but then being blown back to the start and having to begin all over again, and again, and again.

Wind not only causes setbacks, but it also causes erosion. Wind makes trees that would otherwise be straight and tall become weak and bent, sometimes permanently. Given time, wind erodes huge rocks on mountain faces. Certain situations that are prolonged in life can erode our confidence and our strength. I’ve certainly felt this. A constant striving is not sustainable without the ability to recover and to recover quickly.

This is where resilience comes in. I’m working on building my resilience. I believe if I can do this, then my stamina will increase as well. Perhaps this is something God is wanting for me to build in this time in my life. I won’t fight it. But I can’t do it alone. Neither can you.

I’m going to be writing on this every few days. I’ve discovered that there are 12 major factors for building and keeping resilience. Follow me and perhaps we can grow together. Let me know what you think and what is going through your mind as you read this.

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