“Do hard things. ”
I can’t lay claim to this gem of a phrase– I first heard it from some friends of mine who use it regularly in their household. I love it. I am wallpapering my life with these three little words right now.
It’s a concept that goes everywhere. It obviously has a place in teaching our children to do things they’d rather not, or think they can’t. I freely dole it out like candy– “Here,” I say with a wide smile, “have some do hard things!!” They think I’ve lost it. But it’s just that great. It melts in my mouth.
Of course, then it swings around and knocks me a good one– because I also have to apply this to myself. I don’t want to wash the dishes for the umpteenth time today. Do hard things. I don’t want to clean up that vomit. Do hard things. I don’t want to sacrifice, be selfless, put somebody else first. Do hard things. I don’t want to crucify my old self, my laziness, my envy, my bitterness. Do hard things. I don’t want to forgive, forget, repent, confess- be still and know that He is God. Do hard things.
See? It’s an awesome phrase isn’t it? It will stick to any surface.
Want some, too?
Mkay. Here we go. These are a few of my favorite (hard) things:
Say what needs to be said, even when it means someone will probably be mad at you. (practicing wisdom, grace, and above all, love, of course!) Don’t be afraid for someone to not like you for five minutes. Or five days. Or five years. That’s what it costs sometimes, y’all. And it’s not about being RIGHT and proving a point and having the last word. It’s about really loving somebody enough to look them in the eye and say, “You shouldn’t, you’re in trouble here, you’re making a mistake.” Hard? Oh yeah. But do it anyway. Because God didn’t ask you to ensure that nobody ever gets mad at you. He called you to truth and righteousness and love. Sometimes that requires gentle rebukes and admonishments, and that might mean you don’t make somebody’s Christmas list if they don’t like the message. Don’t be afraid to be rejected for His sake.
With me so far? Let’s have some more!
Love other people more than yourself. Not just with words. Actions, my friend. Sacrifice and give. Even when you’ve already been sacrificing and giving all along. Do it more. Even when… wait for it… IT’S HARD!! Like, you’re tired. Feeling underappreciated. Underpaid. Unnoticed. Undervalued. Even when you get the short end of the stick, the raw end of the deal, and you get left holding the bag. Dig deeper. Go farther. For as long as these people (your spouse, your neighbor, your sibling, your child, your parents, your whoever!!) are in your life to love, DO IT, even when it’s HARD.
Be faithful to your commitments and vows. Even when you’re hurt, when you’re wronged, when you’re tempted, when you’re lonely, when you’re bored, when you’re sick, when you’re confused, when you’re poor, when you’re disillusioned, whenEVER. We don’t make vows for the easy times. Those are a no-brainer! Sure, I’ll stick to my word when things are fun and great and new and light! But what about when it’s not? What about when it gets really, REALLY tough? Time to do hard things in our marriages and relationships and our responsibilities.
Go to church. Even when it’s filled with hypocrites. And weirdos. Even when the music isn’t perfect or the pastor preaches too long or it’s cold and flu season and there are germy kids all around or you’ve worked six days of the week or you’re on vacation, or you’ve been hurt by someone in the pew next to you. Do it. Dig deep. Get dressed, grab your keys, go see Jesus. How can you not, Christian? How can you not? You have a personal, engraved invitation to feast with the King of the universe, for goodness sake. God, Creator and Author of LIFE ITSELF lays a table for you, and you think you should mow the lawn or catch up on sleep instead? There is no need for any man to starve in this world, no reason your seat at God’s table should be empty. But it means doing a hard thing: getting past all the excuses.
Wrapping it up here, with the last one.
Don’t follow your heart, no matter how much Disney wants you to. Don’t make decisions based on how you feel about something. Feelings are great,! I am a big fan, especially of the good ones. But they are not the compass for our lives. They cannot perform that function, they aren’t meant to. They will fail miserably. Because we are wonderfully complicated creatures, we will feel a multitude of emotions over our lifetime. It’s a gift. It’s also a curse. Because sometimes we feel things we shouldn’t. Sometimes our feelings aren’t true reflections of what we believe or know to be true. Feelings come and go, ebb and flow– and are utterly unreliable. Because they aren’t fixed points. Only one thing is, and that is God’s word. If you make major life decisions based on how you feel and not on what God’s word says, you are in for a world of heartache. No matter what you tell yourself, you are NOT the exception. Do hard things. Choose to live according to His will and purpose for your life, even if your heart is telling you something else. Deny your heart. Funny thing happens when you do– it gets with the program. It shapes up, gets straight. Follow Christ, and then your heart will follow you. True story.
I know, this was a lot.
Do hard things… is hard. If I hit on anything relevant to you in this post, great! I’m glad, and I hope you’re not too mad. (but see number 1. Ha.) Really though, I write stuff here because I need to hear it. I put it out there, because I am struggling to incorporate this idea into my life, too. I figure, if I need it, somebody else might, too. The fact is, it’s not in any of our natures to want to do hard things.
But here’s the BEST part of it. If we can do it, if we dig deep, keep going, feel the burn– there is something that follows it.
Joy. Blessings. His pleasure, His smile. His loving words, His encouragement. We are gathering up glory in those moments. I don’t know how else to say it. But I know that our faithfulness, our willingness to do this hard thing of living for Him — that is the best thing we can give Him. It is the humblest of gifts, but it is our greatest. He died just so we could give it to Him. That’s how much He wants it, and values it. He didn’t count the cost, He didn’t hesitate, but He laid His own life down for you.
So. Do hard things.
Because He certainly did.