Stop Cheating Yourself
Last week while working out solo, I noticed my form was lacking, and I was cheating with my workout. When I workout with my workout partner, Ryan, he won't let this happen, but he was lollygagging around Yellowstone National Park and not around to keep me in line. The weight was heavy, the workout was hard, and without thinking, I adjusted my form and naturally shifted to the path of least resistance. I was cheating!
What hit me immediately was the natural instinct in me to modify my motion, position, and form to find the easiest path forward. Our bodies and minds are programmed to conserve energy and to be naturally efficient. It’s a brilliant part of our biology. This plays out when our body naturally and automatically attempts to engage all muscle groups to help lift the weight. This problem happens when you work out a particular muscle group, but you don't want other muscle groups involved; you want to only target a single muscle group. For this to happen, you have to work hard to isolate each muscle. It takes a lot of focus and energy to do this, ultimately going against your natural wiring. To fully maximize your workout, you have to go completely against your core biological makeup.
Are you following me? Humans are hardwired to take the path of least resistance. It’s how we are designed and how our brains work. You can see in the gym example how this hardwiring will work against you, but it doesn't stop in the gym. Think about this in a broader sense in your life. Where are you not leaning in? Where are you resisting because of the challenge or the perceived pain of a situation? How does this even affect our view of God and our walk with Christ? Are we seeing the hard decisions and more challenging decisions as ‘not God’s Will?’ Ouch!
Reading Paul’s words in the book of Acts this morning challenges and pushes me out of my comfort zone. Paul wrote:
"After preaching the Good News in Derbe and making many disciples, Paul and Barnabas returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch of Pisidia, where they strengthened the believers. They encouraged them to continue in the faith, reminding them that we must suffer many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God." Acts 14:21-22
To continue in the faith…we must suffer many hardships. Yeah, this does not look like the path of least resistance! Paul knew they needed to be strengthened. They needed a shot in the arm of faith and encouragement. Hardships come, and suffering is a part of life, but please understand that this doesn’t mean every decision in life has to be the tough one. The path of least resistance shouldn’t be our default basis for making decisions.
Humans are hardwired to take the path of least resistance, but we can be “rewired.” This path does not have to be the automatic path, and our mindset can be adjusted with self-awareness, intentionality and switching on our brain.