For When It's Hard: 2nd Edition
When was the last time life was hard? When even one thing about life was hard? What do we do with the hard in our lives? Whether it be our jobs? Our family? Our neighbors? Our health?
I was pondering this because I was having a hard day a while back. Many of you know I've made some changes recently. In the last 5 months, I switched my part-time job, started attending a new church, had recently sold my house and moved to a new one, said good-bye to some sweet friends moving to NC, and broke up with cheese. That's enough to drive a girl to...well, somewhere.
To be honest, all this change has been good and hard at the same time. You see, most of the changes I've embraced. They have been good for me. They've been originated by God. I've leaned in (except for the cheese thing which we are all aware of).
But even when I'm leaning in, they can be hard. Most Sundays are good. God speaks. I know He moved me for a reason. But every once in a while, it's hard. I miss my friends at my old church. Things are different.
And I remember my last doing hard things. For more on that, click here. You see, everything is hard before it gets easy. That new job. That old job you are tired of. Your new church. Your new neighborhood. Your new diet (In case you're wondering, it is still not easy to say no to cheese).
Mostly, throughout Scripture we see that God's people are called to do hard things. Abraham who trusted God without knowing where He was going. Joseph being sold into slavery in Egypt. David who was called to be King but spent what seemed like years hiding in caved and battling Saul. Paul, who spent much of his ministry in prison writing letters to the church. And well, Jesus. That one says it all.
Sometimes, we are called to do hard things.
So, how do you and I navigate the hard things?
What stands out to me in my hard things is that somehow God seems more present. I'm not sure that's theologically possible, but I feel His presence more when I am walking through hard things. I know it's because I'm forced to depend on Him more. To depend on Him to fulfill what is lacking. Depend on Him to provide when I don't know how that's going to happen. Depend on Him more to give me strength to order that burger without the cheese. You get the drift.
You see, God is more interested in our heart belonging to Him than whether life is easy. And if we can choose to be present ourselves and lean into God, the hard things will still be hard. But we will know we're not alone.
One of the coaching tools we use often is the influence of change chart. I typically walk my clients through an intentional process to discover how change has affected them in the past. How did they feel? How did this particular change affect their sense of stability or their relationships? How were there values honored?
After they finish, we focus on a current change they want to make and we work backwards. What values do they want to honor as the make this change? How can they prepare themselves for the change? How can they prepare their loved ones for the change?
When we are intentional, we can choose change. When we are intentional, we can choose hard things and navigate them in a way that honors who we are and the values we hold.
One of my "aha" moments during my coach training was that life is messy. I know what you're thinking. Danielle, you didn't need to pay for that training. I could have told you that.
You see, I'm more of a box girl. Everything has it's place. There was a lot of black and white. For instance, either things were hard or thing were easy. They couldn't be both. Things were either good or bad, but not both.
In my current hard journey where I miss the old and yet embrace the new, I've realized one thing. Things are both hard and good at the same time. It seems weird to me, but maybe not to you.
But I'm learning to live with the idea that life is messy. I'm learning to live in the tension between something being hard and yet truly good. I'm learning to live in the tension that what challenges me also forms me into the person I want to be. I'm learning to rest in the idea that there is joy even in the hard.
I know this is not easy. But how can you and I find joy in that hard thing you are facing today? That co-worker on your last nerves. That relationship that is still unreconciled. That to-do list that's a mile long. That person you need to forgive.
Whatever your hard thing, God is bigger than that. He is working in the midst of it. And sometimes the best thing to do with the hard parts of life is to walk right through them. To admit that it's going to be hard, but it's going to be worth it. We can choose to lean in knowing this is exactly where we are supposed to be. We can take God by the hand, and put one step in front of the other. To put one foot out of the boat trusting God to meet your every need.
I'd love to hear how God is working through your hard thing today. Post a comment here or click here to e-mail me directly.