In Malcolm Gladwell's book Outliers, he tells the story of the Memorial Cup hockey championship in Vancouver, British Columbia. To say that hockey in the frozen lands of the north is not huge is equivalent to saying that people in Dallas know nothing of a team with a star on their helmet. As I read his story, I found most intriguing the description of the winning hockey team’s locker room. More specifically, just a hand-painted banner hung on the wall of the locker room that read "Embrace the Struggle." As I pondered those three words I saw a picture of life in so many ways. Let me explain...
How many times do we fail simply because we encounter difficulty or pain and refuse to embrace it on the road to victory? Whether a personal fitness challenge, weight loss goal, playing sports at the next level, becoming the best in your profession, or more importantly, walking more deeply with God, how often do we not achieve success because we refuse to embrace the struggle? I am utterly convinced the reason we do not experience more victories in our lives is due to an unwillingness to put forth the effort to overcome the obstacles we face. The temporary pain of perseverance through trials outweighs the satisfaction of the desired achievement.
I have long held that it is rarely the most gifted intellectually who finds greatest success in life. Nor is it the one born with a silver spoon in his mouth who stands atop the pyramid of success most often. It is the one who faces adversity, hardship, pain, and difficulty and yet through gritted teeth takes another step forward in spite of the immensity of the struggle. It is the one who endures hardship because the feeling of victory far outweighs the struggle to get there.
What are you facing today where the words “Embrace the Struggle” are necessary for you to advance onward to victory? Why not write those three words on a piece of paper that you will see often and pray for strength today. Hebrews 12:11 says "No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." In other words, embrace the struggle and expect the harvest!
Never yield your shield; stay in the battle.