My bishop's wife said something in our fast and testimony meeting today that hit me pretty hard. She said (paraphrasing) that testimony building is like physical muscle building. Now I've correlated this analogy before in my life but the way she said it resonated. Building muscle requires smalls tears in the muscle fibers in order to become stronger. Every time you exercise a particular muscle, you put stress on that muscle causing minor tears in it. That muscle needs to be fatigued to get stronger. Let me say that again.....the muscle NEEDS to be fatigued and stressed in order to get stronger. As we tear down a muscle we need to allow for recovery in order for it to build back up. But, as it does, it builds up to be stronger. As this happens again and again, over and over, that muscle grows and becomes stronger and stronger, with no limit as to how strong it can get. There is no apex.
Building our testimonies is the same process. We go through hard things. Sometimes many hard things at once. That is life. That is why we're here. That is necessary. We need stress. We need to be fatigued. That is how we get stronger. That is how we build and strengthen our testimonies. Now, of course, as we "tear down" that muscle, we need the proper "recovery" in order to build it back up stronger. That recovery is through prayer, scripture study, fasting, humility, etc.
I've been thinking a lot about doing hard things, about being uncomfortable in order to develop those muscles and get stronger. We cannot live in our comfort zones. We simply cannot. If we want to grow and become better and stronger, we need to step out of our comfort zones and be in the discomfort area. It doesn't matter how big or how small that area is. The longer we remain uncomfortable, the stronger we become and the bigger our comfort zone then becomes.
So, when temptations hit, and they will, whatever they are for each of us, just sit with them. Don't react. Don't resist. Be aware of them. Be mindful. Breathe through them. Say "I see you, I recognize you and what you're doing here...now leave". Don't give in to them. It will be uncomfortable. It needs to be. But it will pass, and we will get stronger and more able to bear the next one that comes.
That is exercising our spiritual muscles. That is how we grow.