When they pour thick slabs of concrete, they use rebar to help make it stronger. The tensile strength is significantly increased by inserting carbon steel bars or mesh steel wires into the concrete during construction. The rebar helps resist cracking and breakage, and it absorbs stress and the other forces that will try to destroy the concrete over time.
Imagine your life as that concrete for a moment… What kinds of rebar can we insert into our own lives to provide extra strength and help us resist cracking, breakage, and stress?
We’ve all been there. Life takes us right to the edge where the pressure layers on, and we’re on the verge of breaking. The tensions in our lives create stress, and just like concrete, we begin to develop cracks on our surface.
Most of you are nodding your heads as you read this. You’ve experienced stress and pressure at work. You’ve experienced tension and strain in your relationships. You’ve felt the squeezing of life from time to time… the expectations, the comparison, the demands that the world puts on you.
I am a divorced and remarried entrepreneur with a blended family, two fifteen-year-old teens, and a parent who is getting older. I understand pressure.
So, what’s my rebar?
First, and most important, it’s my faith. There is nothing that provides me with the strength I need like my faith in Christ does. When the pressure gets heavy, and the tension stretches and pulls at me, I find myself leaning back into my quiet time, prayer, and my faith. God’s promises are rebar when I feel myself starting to crack, and I have learned through many trials to go there first when I feel weak. The one who created me knows me best – and knows exactly what I need.
My wife Cristina is another powerful example of rebar in my life. From the beginning of our relationship, she has been there to help strengthen me when I feel stretched as a dad or pulled in multiple directions at work. She has been a cheerleader when I needed one, a listener when I needed one, and a motivator when I needed one. She’s also one of the first people to notice when I begin to crack. We all have a Cristina in our lives. They may not be your spouse… perhaps they are a good friend, a parent, or a sibling. Nonetheless, the people in our circles that we count as closest are some of the best versions of rebar we can find.
I’ve found my rebar at work, too. When I stop to think about my life, I am quickly reminded that my partners in business, and my team, are amazing examples of rebar as well. They’ve been there for me through personal struggles and work challenges, and in some of those moments where I wanted to crumble, they’ve helped me hold it all together.
We can also do things for ourselves to create our own rebar. Time in the gym can be a source of strength, and so can moments spent outside. I picked up writing as a form of rebar in my own life, and I am a hungry reader. Those things strengthen and refresh me. We each have the opportunity to find those things in life that help us stay strong when everything feels chaotic and intense. Once we find them, making them (and yourself) a priority is vital.
Here’s why this all matters. Concrete without rebar can be quite fragile. It can crumble under pressure and develop cracks that are hard to repair. You and I are no different.
For years, I tried to live my life without rebar. I thought I could do everything on my own and carry the world’s weight without anything to strengthen me on the inside. I was wrong, and eventually, I cracked. It wasn’t until I revisited my faith and started finding strength in my relationships and caring for myself that I achieved the power I needed to thrive. The rebar made me strong.
Find your rebar. Look around and find those people and practices that give you strength. Then, invest in those things. Just like adding rebar to concrete requires an investment, adding it to your life requires you to invest some time and energy as well. But, when you do, you’ll be prepared when life’s pressures and tensions show up.
I hope this blog is a source of rebar for you as well. To receive weekly boosts to your strength, follow me here!
If podcasts are your thing, you can also follow me on the my Grit Meets Growth podcast, available here or on your favorite podcast platforms.
Make today awesome! – John