Do the hard things
"YOU DON'T EVEN TRY TO DO HARD THINGS!" Were the words that came out of my son Jude's mouth as tears rolled down his cheeks and his hands balled up into fists.
Mmmm. Those are fighting words from a strong-willed little boy to his strong-willed Mama. If you can only imagine the words I spit out of my mouth after I chuckled a bit. I might have said something like, "I DONT TRY TO DO HARD THINGS?! How about taking care of 3 kids with different personalities that need you every moment of the day? Or what about teaching your children who all need to learn different things because the weight of their education hangs on your shoulders?! Don't make me give you more examples because I can go on all day about the hard things I try and do on a daily basis!"
All those examples were miniscule in context but it was the quickest response I could come up with for a 6 year old while feeling caught off guard.
You see, last week Jude had earned a boomerang and he had been eagerly waiting for it to arrive in the mail. When it came, his face lit up and he immediately ran right out the door to try it out. The first time he ran back in the house to tell me about how AWESOME and AMAZING his new boomerang was, and within seconds, he ran back in with sheer panic because that boomerang had landed on top of the roof. Can you feel the heaviness of sadness and disappointment for this 6 year old son of mine? He immediately ran through scenarios on how I can get his boomerang or how we could convince someone to come over to get his boomerang down for him. When I politely told him that I know my height and my abilities and I was not going to be able to get the boomerang off the roof, that was when he resorted to insisting that I just didn't like to try to do hard things.
The next morning he had schemed up another plan. He just knew that if we duck-taped this alien looking claw to his hockey stick, we would surely be able to reach his boomerang. It was a new day and I was determined to show my son that I do try hard things even when I do not think the outcome is favorable. Next thing I knew, I was standing on a 4 foot tall step ladder with this hockey-claw contraption trying to do the impossible for someone of average height. Jude was out there holding the ladder while Lila was face-timing Josh so he could tell me if I was close enough to reach it or not. (This picture brought to you by Lila's FaceTime skills)
I was not even close to reaching it, and CAN YOU IMAGINE WHAT THE NEIGHBORS WERE THINKING?!
As I contemplated my post this week, I felt drained and basically in a rut, but Jude's words ran through my head over and over again. The part that was frustrating is the fact the he has been trying to get out of doing his school work or manipulating me into letting him do only certain parts. If I tell him we are working on reading and writing he moans, and whines and cries because those are harder for him and he doesn't want to do the hard parts. So I remind myself that he is 6 and we go through the same talk we have had since the third week of school this year.
I will continue to talk to my kids about the importance of hard work and perseverance every single day because I have seen the fruit of hard work in our lives. I have seen how hard work produces character, resilience, a sense of accomplishment but most importantly an overflow of thankfulness.
"All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty." —Proverbs 14:23
Most of you are familiar with the story of Jonah. If not, Here are your cliff notes.
God told Jonah to go to Nineveh and preach. Jonah decided this was not for him and ran away to Tarshish. He boarded a ship and God sent a major storm that put the other passengers lives at risk, so they threw Jonah over board and God sent a whale to eat Jonah. Jonah was in the whale's belly for 3 days begging God for a second chance. God made the whale spit Jonah out and asked Jonah again to go preach at Tarshish. Jonah did exactly what God asked, and the people of the city turned their lives around and were spared the wrath of God. (Jonah 1-4)
We can choose to avoid, or even run away from the hard things in life but in doing so, we will miss out on all the opportunities and goodness God has planned for our life and the lives around us.
So yes, it is important to me and my family to do the hard things. It is important to us to teach our kids to do the hard things, whether big or small, and to allow them to struggle a bit because if they can grasp the importance of following through on the hard things as children, they will know that when they reach the hard things as an adult, when they face the hard things instead of run away from them, they will gain so much more insight and blessing and it will be worth it.
"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving." —Colossians 3:23-24
What is the hard thing you are facing? Is it a conversation with a friend or a loved one? What about forgiving someone you do not want to forgive? How about taking a leap of faith and trying something you are afraid of failing? There are so many hard things this side of heaven. For the longest time my motto was, "If it is meant to be, it will happen." I can tell you now, that those are words coming from a girl who was terrified of the hard things, thankfully with age and experience I have a different view on life and I see the importance of walking with God through those hard things.
Let us not forget that those little eyes are watching. If we expect them to do the hard things, we better be mindful of how we handle the hard things in life. Whatever hard thing you may be going through right now, I hope you are working through it with the Lord as your guide so that you radiate grace, endurance and resilience. You have a helper, you are capable — and bottom line, your children depend on your leadership in life. Our country depends on your leadership in life.
Thank you for taking the time out of your day to read and follow along on our crazy journeys. It fills my heart when I hear from you and you do not know how much that encourages me. Don't forget to follow me on Instagram to keep up with even more craziness!
I hope you have a wonderful week!