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Have you ever wrestled with someone? Or tried isometric exercises? If so you know how tiring it can be. In high school I wrestled for a year (really just a few months in-between football and baseball season my freshman year). It was hard, REALLY hard. I thought I was in shape. I thought I had a good cardio system. I thought it would be easy. It wasn’t.
If you’re familiar with wresting (or MMA, UFC, or boxing), you know there are weight classes. So you’re wrestling, or fighting, with someone your own size. Generally speaking, they’re following the same workout regime you’re following. The same diet. For the good wrestlers, technique is the key – and speed and strength and determination. For those who are new to the sport, like I was, it’s less about technique and more about everything else. I learned that I would quickly tire. I learned what aching muscles felt like. I learned what it felt like to be completed and utterly winded. I learned to have tremendous respect for world-class wrestlers. What an uncommon breed.
While my wrestling “career” lasted only a few months, I learned a few things. Besides the things listed above, I learned that you can’t hide while wrestling. Everyone knows you’re wrestling. They see you in that ugly singlet (the uniform). Unlike team sports, wrestling is one on one. During the match, there are only two wrestlers and the official/referee. There’s no hiding and there’s no pretending you’re not a wrestler. You can’t hide in a singlet. You just can’t. They fit too tight and are made of Lycra.
Each of you (including me) is a wrestler. You have been for years. You may not realize it, but you are. Yes, you’re not wearing a singlet and, most likely, you never did and never will. Yet your struggle is real just the same. You hide it more easily because the contest, the match, is with yourself, internally. You’re fighting your emotions. Your anger. Your disappointment. Your frustration. You’re wrestling with a decision. A direction. A response.
The Apostle Paul talks about this struggle within, so has every philosopher throughout time. A wrestling match, a war of sorts, goes on within our brain and hearts every day. … Do this. Don’t do this. … Say it. Keep quiet. … Go there. Stay here. … I’m good. I’m bad. … She’s good. She’s bad. … I’m fortunate. I’m screwed.
Now some of you may not be aware of this internal wrestling match. Good for you, “ignorance is bliss.” Bad for you, you’re shallow. … Is it any wonder that many of the world’s greatest, most accomplished thinkers, writers, sculptures, musicians, philosophers, composers, and achievers have, to a degree, been tormented internally? … If you have good self-awareness, you know it’s there. You’re constantly aware of this wrestling match.
It’s ok and normal to have ups and downs. Good times and bad times. Mountain-top victories and defeats in the valley. It’s ok to go through the love/hate and hot/cold cycles. You are not alone.
Recognize there will be a wrestling match your entire life. Be self-aware. Seek help if your emotions completely hijack your thinking. Learn how to gravitate back to the middle. To take a break in the action. To catch your breath. To rest between matches.
There are many books and strategies on how to deal with this life-long wrestling match. I’m just asking that you recognize this battle is normal and encouraging you not to give up.
A few days ago, I was at the mall. I was surprised that it wasn’t more crowded, but there were still many people looking for after-Christmas sales on all four levels. Yes, four! A couple things struck me. First, some people were going up (via escalators and elevators). Some were going down. Second, on the outside, no one seemed to be wrestling. I didn’t see any take-downs or head-locks in the mall. Yet I knew that everyone I saw had issues. Everyone was involved in a wrestling match of some sort. Often, we have multiple matches taking place at the same time. Don’t you?
We have issues (wrestling matches) in our spiritual, emotional, relational, and physical lives. Are you doing ok? Are you wrestling in-between rounds? Are you successfully managing the number of concurrent matches? What are your strategies for dealing with them?
As always, the floor is open to your comments, suggestions, thoughts, and feedback.