By Jeff Borders
The gospel life was never meant to be easy. Our spiritual growth should not be predicated on our comfort, but rather in our discomfort.
That statement may have some of you scratching your heads, but allow me to elaborate further by talking about building muscle.
Muscle you say? Yes. Just bear with me for a moment.
Muscle is built in the body after you work out. Though a cellular process where damaged muscle fibers are repaired or replaced, the body fuses muscle fibers together to form new muscle protein strands called myofibrils. The repaired myofibrils increase in thickness and number to create muscle hypertrophy, or in other words, growth.
Underpinning the natural progression of muscle growth it that stress is continually applied to the muscles, forcing the body to disrupt homeostasis, and thus leading to the mechanisms of muscle growth. In order to have muscle growth, application of a stress load greater than what your body had previously adapted is essential.
Thus, stress and discomfort is required for our physical bodies to grow in strength.
Just like our physical self, our spiritual self needs to grow, and the same principles hold true.
Our spiritual growth, which is essential for our eternal progression, is centered on the application of discomfort and stress. No, I am not saying that our spiritual journey through mortality should be all doom and gloom, but when we shy away from the Gsospel or church, or even the promptings of the Spirit, because it makes us feel uncomfortable, we deprive ourselves of valuable opportunities for meekness, humility, and the most significant process for spiritual growth, repentance.
The process of repentance can be likened to the process of muscle growth. It is not comfortable to admit you have done wrong. It is not easy to ask for forgiveness, or to forgive yourself, but these things are essential parts of the repentance process. And like muscle growth, once we have a broken heart and contrite spirit and we are humbled, then through the Atonement of Jesus Christ we are built up stronger than we were previously.
But, it isn’t through repentance alone that spiritual growth can occur. Trials and struggles, which are a regular part of our lives, can often lead us to a place of humility, then just like repentance, the Atonement of Jesus Christ can be the balm of Gilead allowing us to find strength to weather the storms of life and eventually we will become stronger because of the trials and struggles we have faced.
Just like exercise and stress are required for building muscle, our mortal journey, with its trials, tribulations and struggles, is necessary for us to grow spiritually. Let’s face it. Life is not easy. Nor should it be. When everything is easy, then opportunities for learning and growth are few and far between. Opposition is essential to life.
Walt Disney once said, “You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.”
So the next time your face trials and discomfort in this life, do me a favor and try to look at it as an opportunity for growth. It won’t be easy. Sometimes will hurt like a kick in the teeth. But, you never know what you will discover in the process, and you might be surprised at the heights of growth you can attain.
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