Why Bother To Build Stamina?

Why Bother To Build Stamina?

Whether competing in an athletic event, beginning and finishing a project, sticking with a commitment to a relationship or maintaining long-term goals for personal improvement, we need staying power. Quitters never finish. Instead, they become envious bystanders wishing for the inner strength they see in others and at the same time, lack in themselves. 

Stamina is Built, Not Inherited 

Anyone can build stamina and you don’t have to join a gym to do it. Stamina, whether mental or physical, is constructed bit by bit over the course of our lifetime. No one is born with heartiness. Nor is it instantaneous. Instead, we develop a fortitude for life as we set big and little goals and then move in steady motion toward them. Every time we encounter an unexpected obstacle and refuse to quit, we build more resistance to setbacks. The inevitable bumps, temporary inconveniences, and stressors that strain our endurance actually become the needed training that strengthens our courage. 

During my years as a triathlon participant, I kept a rigorous training regiment—running, swimming and biking. Unbeknown to me, I would need this mental and physical grit while taking a family camping vacation on Lake Powell. 

Every morning I took a walk from our houseboat out into the surrounding desert to watch the sunrise, being careful to watch where I was going so I could find my way back. That year, the water level was unusually lower than normal and created deep canyons that concealed even the largest of houseboats. One morning, when I retraced my footprints, I could not find the boat. Even though I retraced my path more than once and peered over the edges of cliffs, I still could not put my eye on our boat. 

At first I panicked, then I calmed down and opened the day pack I always carried. I had a full bottle of water, a ball cap, and a granola bar. Because of my rigorous training for a triathlon, I was at my physical peak and with the resolve of a competitor, I told myself that I had what it took to find my way back to the boat. After six hours of trekking through the desert to the other side of the lake, I climbed back down to the water, the boat, and my family. 

We never know what awaits us along this journey we call life, but we can expect the unexpected will happen. When circumstances seem to thwart our passageway, we can assess our resources, refuse to panic and choose a different route around the obstacle. To live and finish well, life requires us to stick-to-it no matter what. 

Why bother to build stamina? It is worth it to build endurance so that whatever we start we will have what it takes to also finish.

Why Bother With Intestinal Fortitude?

Why Bother With Intestinal Fortitude? 

Recently, while kayaking with a friend, she told me I had intestinal fortitude. The term caused me to conjure up all sorts of images.  I imagined a pie, or hot dog eating contest, consuming an enormous quantity of food, or someone with a steel gut who can eat anything without any ill effects. But she assured me that intestinal fortitude had nothing to do with how well my gut digested the foods I ate. Instead, it is a term used to describe the gumption, strength of mind or the grit in one’s life.

A History of Intestinal Fortitude

While we paddled through the mild, gentle water that did not strain or test our strength, we reflected with fondness and humor, on those seasons in both of our lives that called upon our determination, spunk and fortitude. 

First of all, for both of us, the marriage relationship with its load of challenges, called for developing a strength of mind that neither of us had as newly weds. Marriage forced us to learn how to respond instead of react to our spouses, and speak our minds instead of remaining silent. We stayed away from doing things we would only later regret and we kept resentment from taking a foothold. We could both recall the times of unemployment, or on the job injuries that caused financial fear and worry to rise up in our lives. But even so, we stared those anxieties down with our gumption.  

Who knew that when it came to raising our families, between the two of us, we would encounter infertility, miscarriages and stillbirth. Then, as mothers of teenagers, neither of us fathomed the quantity of courage required to love our young adults regardless of their arrogant and sometimes rude demeanor. Now, as adults, they continue to test our stamina and fortitude. In spite of the current events that threaten to carve an abyss between us and our grown children, our great heartedness convinces us to hold firm to our faith. 

Paddling back to shore, we agreed that the circumstances of our lives called for a certain measure of intestinal fortitude. Recognizing this stoutness only causes us to remember with fondness and humor that those things behind us in some way, prepare us for whatever lies ahead of us. 

Why bother with intestinal fortitude? Our intestinal fortitude is worth noticing because it is what we need when navigating those rough patches of water we all go through. Without intestinal fortitude, we might find ourselves up creek  without a paddle.