It never fails that the moment you seek to accomplish a goal is the moment you are met with a wave of resistance unlike any you have seen before. Like the day I started eating healthier was the day that I got coupons for “The China Buffet” down the road. Conner, who is a lot smarter than I am, says that this is just a form of confirmation bias. The reality was the coupons for “The China Buffet” have come religiously every 2 weeks I just haven’t noticed them until I wanted to start being healthier. I tell her she is wrong because it makes a better story if she is.
Two weeks ago I started the process of downsizing and minimizing our lives. Shortly after writing the most amazing and beautiful blog post about it, my lawnmower’s right rear wheel snapped off the “axis”. I don’t know if you know a lot about lawnmowers or not, but 4 wheels are required to operate the device, attempting to continue mowing your grass with only three wheels creates a special kind of havoc that words cannot describe.
So with my lawnmower broken and a half mowed yard I headed over to Ace the “helpful place”. They were not helpful. I showed the gentleman the picture above and his response was to take me to the new lawnmowers for sale. He started his pitch about the different price points and that if I wanted the walk assist option that I would have to spend at least 300.
“What if I want to fix it?” I said.
“Fix what?” he said.
Its comments like this that drive me crazy. The temptation to be sarcastic is so strong that I don’t think I can resist it. In the new testament Paul often writes about the “Thorn in his side”, this is my thorn.
“The lawnmower.” I said. I know that my response means little to nothing to anyone else but to me that was an incredible victory. I successfully accomplished not being sarcastic to this man even though every bone in my body cried out with a sarcastic response.
His response to me wasn’t as tactful. He started laughing at the idea of fixing the lawnmower which he said “Must be like 50 years old”. He finalized his response with a continuation of the pitch on the new lawnmowers and that the best deal was this $400 mower that is normally $499 but because fathers day is coming up its on sale.
Well by now my resistance to sarcastic tendencies had run dry so I replied with “You are telling me that ‘the helpful place’ doesn’t sell lawnmower parts? Alright thanks anyway I’ll just run to Home Depot to get what I need”.
At our local Ace Hardware the words “Home Depot” are worse than any four-letter word you could say at church. It is similar to saying the Lord name in vain plus a random assortment of cuss words.
“We sell lawnmower parts” the salesman said defiantly “you will just be back in an hour to buy a new lawnmower. I was just trying to save you time but whatever.” With this he took me to a display of parts that was rather lackluster.
“You don’t have any wheel bolts?” I asked.
“None that are old enough for your lawnmower.” He retorted. “Like I said you should be looking at new mowers.”
I wrapped up our encounter with a quick “Thanks anyway” and headed over to Home Depot. They too didn’t sell my exact wheel bolt and thus I found myself looking at their selection of lawnmowers. It took every ounce of will power not to buy a new lawnmower and instead head home to check the interwebs for the necessary parts.
I had a perfect excuse to buy a new lawnmower. Anybody else in my position would have probably bought a new mower. It was significantly less work to buy a new mower than it was to buy parts, but it is the exact opposite of trying to minimalize and simplify my life. So instead I drove to my in-laws house and borrowed their mower, finished cutting my grass and then ordered the necessary parts to fix my mower. A week later I replaced the parts on my mower, which took another hour, and then I finished the whole project up with returning the borrowed mower. I did all of this extra work because of one simple phrase, “Everything that’s worth anything is worth fighting for”.
This might sound like an over dramatized conclusion to a mower problem and truthfully it is, but the conclusion doesn’t just apply to our mower problems. The reality of this world is that whether it’s confirmation bias or some external force, all goals in life will meet resistance. The key to whether or not our goals will be accomplished is how we respond to that resistance. If the goal is worth enough to us we will persist. The question is how much is your goal worth to you?
My wife and I have a lot of grandiose dreams for our lives. Recently we have focused in on a specific one and have spent the last couple of months working diligently toward that dream. We saved our money, completed necessary projects and prioritized certain decisions around it. Along the way we have met a lot of resistance and I know that the further we go the more we will meet. If this dream is ever to become more than a whisper than it has to be fought for. We have to put the work in to make it a reality.
One could argue the same is true for our relationships with God. If our relationship with God is something that matters to us, even in the slightest, we will put the work in. It is always interesting to me how willing I am to sacrifice 5 hours of my life to not buy a lawnmower but I always forget to spend 30 minutes each morning alone with God.
The goal here isn’t to feel guilty though because with all things in life we will fail. It is how we respond that matters.
So go forth fighting for whatever goal you set out for yourself being fully aware that resistance will come but that you can overcome.