Confession: It’s been really nice being on summer break. I’ve had three days of uninterrupted, unlimited Bible study. And snuggles. And coffee that is still hot when I drink it!
I finished calculating grades and putting together progress reports on Monday and since then I feel like I have nothing to do. Everything for AK Exploring Studies is submitted and I’m just waiting on the Anchorage School District to get back to me. There is nothing left for me to do but wait and rest and recover.
And in all this resting, my Bible reading and my devotionals have all been revolving around one common theme: Do the hard thing.
It doesn’t take a neurologist to see that we are creatures of habit (ok, maybe it actually does, but just follow me here for a moment). We will always do that which we have always done – we will react the same way we reacted last time, we will drive down the same routes we drove down yesterday… And this is what makes weight loss so painfully difficult! If you crave salt and vinegar chips when you are stressed and you give in today, you will crave and possibly give in tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that.
Which is why Paul the apostle told us in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Don’t you know that the runners in a stadium all race, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way as to win the prize. Now everyone who competes exercises self-control in everything. However they do it to receive a crown that will fade away, but we a crown that will never fade away.
Therefore I do not run like one who runs aimlessly or box like one beating the air. Instead I discipline my body and bring it under strict control, so that after preaching to others, I myself will not be disqualified.
Bringing your body under strict control is not fun. It’s hard. But it’s the hard things that lead to the life God really envisioned for you! We weren’t created to cruise on autopilot until we reach eternity. We are told to do this life as if we were in the Olympics, going for the gold. What does that look like?
- Reading your Bible before reading your Facebook feed.
- Putting away all the electronics and playing a board game with your kids.
- Fasting and praying through decisions instead of making them on a whim.
- Eating the handful of snap peas instead of the chocolate chip cookies.
- Going for a run when you’d rather watch TV all day.
- Listening to your spouse with the intention of understanding, instead of thinking of what you are going to respond because you are angry.
- Working with your kid on a chore and guiding him until he gets it instead of just taking over and doing it yourself.
- Bathing your own dog instead of paying someone else to do it when the money is tight.
- Cutting out foods from your diet that cause inflammation if you are struggling with auto-immune issues!
- Cutting cable when funds are tight or the family is on a spiritual low.
The hard things are not fun things. But they are good things. We know that doing the hard things now will plant seeds of victory that we will harvest later in the future.
My husband just went back to school. He was faced with two options: Be a 40 year old C.M.A. or a 40 year old P.A. It will take him that long to get there anyways and the time will pass either way. But his career may be completely different if we all choose to do the hard thing now.
The good thing is that the hard things become easy things once they are a habit. The tough part is making the decision to do it. After doing it enough times, it won’t be an active decision to wrestle with any more, it will be a normal part of your life. And that’s where it gets awesome! Your mind, body and soul will be that much in tune with making the right choice the more we consistently do so when it is the hardest.