How to Practice Endurance

In January I had an accident. Nothing life-threatening, but I did break my arm (now put together with a titanium rod and two pins) and fractured my hip (knitted together with three titanium screws). My friends now call me the bionic woman.

All this additional hardware required three weeks of convalescence, and then I began physical therapy. While it takes 21 days to build a habit, I discovered we regress even faster. exercise

Newton’s Law is true: a body in motion tends to stay in motion, but a body at rest tends to stay at rest.

Last summer I walked 10,000 steps a day with little effort. After the accident, twenty simple leg lifts left me winded. Typically I reserve one day a week for errands, running around town to stock up on food and various household items. But now I barely walk the aisles of the grocery store before I have to return home to rest.

The pain is manageable, but I have lost endurance.

And the longer I stay I at rest, the easier it is to wallow there. I find myself justifying the choice rather than trying to overcome it.

However, if I sit too often or too long, my joints grow stiff, my clothes feel snug, and projects go unfinished. I try to convince myself I need to take it easy, but the reality is… I’m not willing to do the work.

Rebuilding endurance takes effort. First, I must purpose to increase my stamina. This requires setting aside a certain amount of time each day to retrain. By giving time to this, however, I must give up something in return.

 What am I willing to sacrifice in order to succeed?

Second, endurance requires patience. I can’t start walking 10,000 steps a day; I must work up to that goal. This requires I begin slowly and accept temporary limitations.

I must look forward in the direction I want to go, rather than staring back at my past. I must pace myself, pushing as hard as I can tolerate, but not beyond. Trying to do too much too quickly will only result in setbacks.

Third, endurance requires determination. The effort was rewarding when I saw measurable results. It didn’t take long to increase the number of leg lifts without struggling for breath. And I was soon able to return to errand day without problem.

But it takes resolve and determination to keep on track when results are not forthcoming.

Synonyms for endurance include: fortitude, perseverance, persistence, tenacity, and courage. These words imply it is not a matter of “if” I will face challenges, it is a matter of when and how often.

And I know the greater the initial determination, the greater frequency of trials and roadblocks. I must prepare mentally as well as physically to succeed, no matter what.

After three months, I have regained about 90% of my arm/hip function. While it is tempting to accept this as “good enough” I refuse to settle. It will take another four months of sweat, inconvenience, persistence, tenacity and fortitude before I see any measurable results.

Is it worth it? Absolutely.

Don’t settle. You are too valuable in God’s sight to settle for anything less than His best for your life.

Just take one small step today and you will discover: a body in motion will stay in motion.

Hebrews 12:1-3 (NIV)

“… And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” 

©2016 Molly Totoro – for GateWay of Hope

Molly Totoro is a writer who has a heart and passion for authentic living. She firmly believes “Everyone has a story to share.” Molly helps others write their stories to impact future generations. Follow Molly’s new blog series, “How to Journal” at Revising Life after 50.