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July 19, 2010

The Gift of Resistance

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My friend and fellow spiritual director, Mr. Kelly Bowers, and I were discussing resistance at our regular mentoring session. In spiritual formation parlance, resistance is any time anyone (myself, the directee) actively or passively moves away from a topic, a question or an experience. As we were speaking, God was reframing the understanding of resistance Later, Kelly sent me his reflections on the topic as he discussed this issue with God. I thought his words and reflections are such a precise understanding of resistance and the gift of God that it is to us in our spiritual journey that I got his permission to share his journal entry with you.

Resistance—as a good thing. Tara spoke of it in this way, and as we conversed and I thought about this, it, resistance, became a blessing. It indicates a pressing in by Your hand. Grace helps me in knowing resistance in not sin, not something to be ashamed of or to infer reproof or condemnation, but rather to recognize it indicates some tension between my heart and Yours. All too often I view resistance as something to affirm the poor message of "What is wrong with me" when actually it is a profound presence. It indicates an invitation by You into something new, something that may require more of me than I think I have but it is, nonetheless, an invitation into that which is good and holy.

How does this make you think differently about the times that you have resisted God or His work in your life?

  • Sally Mansbridge

    Sometimes I think of resistance as a pushing back and at other times it seems to me to be surface tension, requiring a little extra effort to get through to what’s needed. Then again, it can be a springing up. We talk about resisting temptation although when we pray we say ‘lead us not into temptation. Very rarely do I think of resistance as a turning away. What an interesting word.