To wrestle means, to contend, to compete, to strive, as in a struggle for mastery. It seems that I’ve inherited the wrestling gene from my great grandpa, because, boy do I struggle sometimes. Only, recently have I come to see the benefit of a good wrestling match between me and my goals. By definition, wrestling is a struggle for mastery, and most times mastery is contingent upon the magnitude of the struggle. Wrestling the opposition, whether it be our goals, life’s circumstances or even ourselves, is how we get from the person we are, to the person we hope to be.
One of my favorite stories of all time is about a man named Jacob who, despite no chance of victory, wrestles with God for an entire day, and even in defeat will not relent until God blesses him, and changes his name from Jacob, which meant deceiver, to Israel, which means prince, who has favor with God and with men.
GENESIS 32:24 And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. 25 And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him. 26 And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. 27 And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. 28 And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed. 29 And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there. 30 And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.
I used to think that people can’t change who they are. They say, you can’t change the spots on a leopard, but even the leopard’s spots are a result of the leopard adapting to its environment. It’s in the struggle, where change begins; it happens as one adapts in order to become more fit for, and better suited to their environment. The reason most people don’t change is because they’re lacking the necessary fighting spirit; they choose comfort over confrontation, they don’t want to wrestle.
If change is the goal, first be aware of where struggle exists in your life and find peace in it; let it work for you. As a UFC fan I’ve found that the greatest champions always keep calm, even peaceful despite being in the most precarious positions at times. Secondly, don’t forget to fight back! Don’t just face your fears, engage them, struggle with them, toil and wrestle with them for 20 seconds, 1 minute, an hour… however long it takes.