Doing the Hard Thing




This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

~Hebrews 4:15-16 (New Living Translation)


So, last week we had a day off of work to honor the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. My children’s daycare was closed, as was my office, so I was tasked with trying to figure out what to do with my children all day long.

As I sat trying to put a plan together on Sunday night (I always have to have a plan with these little ones), I found myself at a crossroads. My best self wanted to plan a MLK Day activity for them: read a Civil Rights-themed book (We March), talk about the importance of Dr. King’s work, and maybe finish up with a craft—Dr. King coloring sheets perhaps.

My tired-mommy self wanted to just find some age-appropriate kid movie on Netflix and not have to figure out a creative and gentle way to tell my kids that they will encounter people who hate them simply because of how they look.  And then make them take a nap that stretched long into the afternoon.

It was a day off. I was tired. I wanted and needed a break. I had a jam-packed week ahead, even though it was only four days long. I work hard. I deserve a break, I told myself. And then I felt that gentle tug at my heart that I was trying so desperately to ignore. I knew the right thing to do. It was the hard thing, but it was the right thing. With a small sigh of resignation and a quick prayer for energy and strength, I propped myself up on the sofa, cracked open my MacBook and started combing through Pinterest pages, looking for a meaningful, but manageable MLK craft project for my kids.

I think that this principle also applies to living life on Jesus’ terms. So often, being our best selves, being the person the Lord has called us to be, requires us to do the hard thing. It requires us to apologize, when our pride wants us to sit silent.  It forces us to look at the not-so-pretty parts of ourselves so that we can let God fix us up. This principle requires us to stop and consider others, when it’s easier to busily brush past someone else’s needs to get to the next thing on our to-do list. Sometimes, it even requires us to stand up for ourselves, when it would just be easier to let our legitimate needs go unnoticed.

The thing is, though, we don’t have to do that hard thing alone. The Lord offers us help. He invites us to give the hard stuff to him. He has promised to shoulder our burdens, to help us do the hard thing. We need only to acknowledge that we can’t do the hard thing alone, in our own strength, and pray and earnestly ask for his help in doing what we know is right, even when it’s hard to do. With God’s help, we can do the hard thing, the right thing, and live each day knowing that our life and efforts are pleasing to our Heavenly Father–a really good thing.

2 thoughts on “Doing the Hard Thing

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