Having been immersed in the fitness realm for over twenty years, I have come to a greater understanding of the many challenges which people face. I have a better appreciation for those who continue to try to progress in spite of obstacles which could be paralyzing. Speaking directly to that word, one can be mentally paralyzed as well as physically. I have witnessed those confined to a wheel chair achieve things that I would never have imagined possible. I’m sure that you’ve drawn inspiration, as I have, from someone you’ve seen profiled in a story. Perhaps, like me, you’ve come to know someone on a very personal level who defies their disability. Heck, they don’t think of themselves as disabled, and neither should we label them as such. We would do well to adopt the motto which one of my friends frequently spews: “Strength doesn’t come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t.”–Anonymous Though his body is “broken”, he has accomplished incredible physical feats which put me to shame. However, continuing with my focus on another form of affliction, I refer to the one in five American adults who will have a diagnosable mental health condition in any given year; those who “quietly endure, silently suffer, and patiently wait”.–Martin Luther King
Can you imagine there coming a point in your life when you would ever stop believing that you can progress? What must it be like to come to the conclusion that there can simply be no more forward movement even in the prime of your life? What is the worst case scenario in which you could picture yourself? Well, I have met some individuals who believe that the very best they can do is to acknowledge their truth, which is that they are stuck. They make the sad declaration that their only means of survival is to quietly submit to a perceived reality in which their brokenness cannot be fixed. They see their battle as incompatible with a positive outcome, not allowing for a happy ending to the story of their life. Some people do suffer every day of their lives, while others can suffer a lifetime in a single day. No matter the severity of one’s mental health woes; no matter the name attached to the disorder; no matter how long this burden has been carried; I offer this encouragement. “If you saw the size of the blessing coming, you would understand the magnitude of the battle you are fighting.”–Toby Mac
William James once said, “If this life is not a real fight in which something is eternally gained by success, it is nothing more than a game of private theatricals from which one may withdraw at will.” I am heart-broken when I see the increasing rate of suicide in our society. The numbers are staggering and grow daily. This epidemic is preventable. Madame de Stael added this profound thought. “Divine wisdom, intending to detain us some time on earth, has done well to cover with a veil the prospect of the life to come; for if our sight could clearly distinguished the opposite bank, who could remain on this tempestuous coast of time?” I would be remiss if I did not add these words of the Apostle Paul to the Corinthians. “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” My friends, wherever you may be stuck in your journey, and for whatever reason, there is always hope. “Their is no life so shattered that it cannot be restored.”–Dieter F. Uchtdorf
In the struggles of mortality, we are never left alone to accomplish our work, to fight our battles, to face adversity or unanswered questions. Jesus taught that men aught to pray often and not to faint. “Your worst day with God will be better than your best day without Him.”–unknown Though your mind make be broken and your hopes and dreams shattered, there is reason to press forward in faith. I absolutely love how Trent Shelton addressed this: “We are all a little broken. But, the last time that I checked, broken crayons still color the same.” Each and every one of you has a special purpose for being here. My own experiences have taught me that we can rise above our weaknesses. In these bodies, we are but frail creatures. However, these mortal shells house our immortal spirits. What does that mean? How can that knowledge bring the hope to continue? If our afflictions prevent us from engaging in the physical exercise that we desire to feel better, then we can focus on strengthening our spiritual muscles. Even as our physical being becomes weaker, our spirit can continue to grow in strength. Our limitations may make proper nutrition, restful sleep, and stress reduction very difficult to achieve, but not impossible as some believe. Nevertheless, “when you are no longer able to do the things you used to do, simply focus on the things that matter most.”–Richard G. Scott Consequently, the things that matter most always lead us to explore our everlasting spirit.
Where can I turn for peace? Where is my solace when other sources cease to make me whole? When with a wounded heart, anger, or malice, I draw myself apart, searching my soul? Where when my aching grows, where when I languish, where, in my need to know, where can I run? Where is the quiet hand to calm my anguish? Who, can understand? He, only One. He answers privately, reaches my reaching in my Gethsemane, savior and friend. Gentle the peace he finds for my beseeching. Constant he is and kind, love without end. –Emma Lou Thayne
Lift up your heads. Be of good cheer. Though you may feel like half the man or woman you used to be or still feel you should be, your affliction will never destroy your spirit. It is 100% healthy and waiting for further nourishment. The bravest people I know are those with a mental health disorder. Through the course of time, each has come to believe in this truth: “You were given this life because you were strong enough to live it.”–Chad Hymas The wisest of these seek comfort from the Great Comforter.