How to be Forged in Fire-Using adversity as an avenue of strength

There will always be a setback. There will always be a roadblock. Life is going to happen.

Everyone has areas of their life where they feel pressure. Home-life, work-life, relationships, physical ailment, loss, disappointment, financial problems, etc. The list goes on. If every person were to have something in common, it’s a fair bet that the one thing they have in common is their ability to locate a stressor somewhere in their life. It’s the nature of life - it has a way of knocking you down. Sometimes, more than once in a row. Other times, once in a while…occasionally, at the least expected moment. These pressure-points can be described as adversity, which can produce suffering. When someone thinks of the term suffering, they probably associate it as being pain that is unbearable, extremely hurtful, or cruel. Indeed, suffering can be all of these things. Although, there can also be minor sufferings. Simply, I like to define suffering as the loss of something that is close to your heart, or what you treasure. Have you ever heard of the phrase, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”? It is also important to note that suffering is relative. What one person treasures, another may not. This explains why the things most dear to us have the ability to hurt us the most.

Now that we have a foundation of what suffering is, let’s take a different approach to how we should process adversity in our lives. Reactively, it seems natural to resist. When life gets hard, it feels acceptable to move as far away from the pain as possible. We don’t want to suffer. What if I told you we have this backward? I believe the obstacle is the way. I believe the quicker we accept, recalibrate, and attack, the quicker we begin the process of growth. Growth requires refining. How is a blade sharpened? How is a diamond purified? How is gold refined? All of these processes require extreme heat and pressure. They demand a stripping away of unwanted and unworthy material through the tumultuous crucible of adversity. The blade is comfortable left alone in the corner of the blacksmith’s workshop. In its comfort, it lies dormant, inactive, and unqualified. When that heap of cold steel is transferred to the metal anvil, it is given an opportunity to become something greater than what it was before. Its greatness is on the other side of the flame and hammer. Only when forged is the blade worthy of being handled by the warrior. Only when willing to view the setbacks, roadblocks, sufferings, and adversity in our lives as the avenue to strength instead of a negative circumstance can we become something sublime.

So, I challenge us to press into the pain. Whether it is the momentary suffering you experience during that workout, the pressure you feel at home, or the disappointment from not getting that dream job. That workout is the only way to fitness. It is the only way to health. Investing in and believing in your family at home, even when it’s hard, is the only way you’ll be the father, mother, husband, or wife you desire to be. That dream job? Believe it was only a stepping stone to your true calling, creating stronger character and perseverance. Be resilient. Invite the fire. Step into your destiny.

Brian Shotwell