When It's Hard9:26 PM
Maybe I should be writing about our recent fast-and-furious trip to NYC, but it’s not what I’m thinking about today so I’m going off-script (as if there is a script for my blog. There’s not.) Today, I was furiously pedaling, sweating and laboring through a cycling class at the gym and thinking just as intensely about doing hard things.
Some people mistake doing hard things for doing great things. Many times the hardest things are not great; they are not anything for which you will become famous. They are not publicly praiseworthy or instagram-worthy or begging for a shoutout on facebook.
“Hey guys, I did 5 loads of laundry today when I felt like watching TV instead! Applaud me now!”
“Hey guys, I actually went to the gym instead of buying more food. Booyah to me.”
“Hey guys, I managed to keep my mouth shut every time a coworker said something completely ridiculous to me. ”
Get the picture? Yeah, life is hard. Life is full of unglamorous, seemingly unimportant, yet truly necessary battles of self-discipline. When I say I’ve been thinking about doing hard things, I’m saying that I’ve been thinking about taking care of my daily responsibilities without complaint. I’m thinking about saying no to the candy bars parading through my office every afternoon even though I reeeeeally want to eat one. I’m thinking about ignoring that worldly voice speaking through various websites/magazines/etc., always saying to ‘love myself more’ and ‘do what you want!’ and my absolute favorite --- “you should buy this (thing/food/comfort), because you deserve it.” Nothing screams first-world entitlement like proclaiming that you deserve something. I don’t deserve things. I am blessed by things. I am thankful for things, but I am not entitled to eat dessert every meal or get a raise right now or be recognized or sleep in on Saturdays. Nope. Not entitled to those things at all. I was telling a friend recently that sometimes you just gotta do things you don’t want to, just to do things that you don’t want to. It’s self-discipline. I am convinced that one of the most valuable skills that you gain as you mature is the ability to say no to your desires.
Growing up means saying yes to working when you feel like playing.
Growing up means waking up when you feel like sleeping.
Growing up means giving when you feel like taking.
Growing up means studying when you feel like watching TV.
Growing up means recognizing that just because you want something is not a legitimate reason for buying it. Just because you think something is not a good reason to say it. And “because I feel like it” is actually the worst excuse to verbalize.
If you’re thinking that I’m preaching to you, I kind of am. But you kind of deserve it because you chose to read my blog—which is like asking me pointed questions about what I think and actually listening to the answers. I gots lots to say, y’all. Hence the blogging.
However, mostly I’m preaching to me. I have been mulling over this concept for months. The continual challenge to me as a Christian believer is to sacrifice what I want for what God wants. There are clear commands in Scripture that tell me about my responsibilities as a Christian, as a wife, as an employee, as a fellow-follower-of-the-Way. Sometimes those commands include things that I don’t always feel like doing. And denying my flesh is hard.
Loading the dishwasher is hard. Eating the right amount of food (instead of too much food, which is gluttony) is hard. Going to work every single day to an accounting job is hard. I could go on and on and on, but I won’t. The point is that I am in the process of learning to do hard things, even when I don’t feel like it.
“but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.” 1 Corinthians 9:27
All photos from our Maine trip in August 2013.
Climbing Beech Mountain at Acadia National Park. It was hard, but we did it.