My last post, “Sometimes Easier is Harder,” centered on the idea that often when we take the path of least resistance we end up having to endure more difficulty in the end. Taking a shortcut and doing the convenient thing is not always the best way or the right way.
Today I want toss around some ideas about choosing the hard thing in order to make life easier and/or better in the end. In God’s upside down economy (no actually His is right side up and the ways of the world are upside down…but you catch my drift), trials are good. Hard things are good. Challenges are good.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4
Some hard things in life may be absolutely unavoidable: a health problem that is out of your control, a decision made by someone else that directly affects you, or enduring a natural disaster that results in loss of life or home. These are indeed trials, but have nothing to do with your choosing them. That is for another post.
Sometimes we are faced with choices that are entirely within our control. And often times doing the hard thing first will lead to a better or easier outcome.
- Like choosing to spend more time in the kitchen on food preparation in order to be healthier and/or be a better steward of your money.
- Like teaching, training, and disciplining your toddlers so you can enjoy peace in your home and share a close, loving relationship with them instead of spending all your energy trying to ‘control’ them in their tween and teen years.
- Like doing the dishes (or training your kids to!) right after dinner instead of plopping down in front of the TV or computer so you can start your morning with a clean kitchen.
- Like being the first one to say you’re sorry after an argument with your husband so you can reconcile quickly and enjoy each other instead of carrying resentment around for hours or days.
- Like holding your tongue when it would be so easy to gossip which allows you to have a clear conscience and peaceful relationships with others in the long run.
- Like downsizing and simplifying so you can be more available to your children and other ministry opportunities rather than spending so much time taking care of your ‘stuff’ and working more so you can pay for all of it.
- Like running the first mile when you’d rather be sleeping so you can be in better physical shape which will allow you to enjoy life and help others more.
- Like saying “no” to a good opportunity so that you can say “YES” to the one God has called you to.
- Like saying “yes” to a speaking engagement (even though it scares you to death) so you can bless others and glorify God through your message.
- Like canceling your cable service so you can build a well for a community in a country you’ve never been to for people you’ve never met.
…because really, when you look at the end results, the hard thing doesn’t seem so hard after all. It just seems worth it.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9
And for the sake of clarification, the list above is simply a starting point to get us thinking- not a black and white standard that will fit everyone’s circumstances. Some of your “choices” will no doubt be different than others’ because God has made us all unique and called us to different things. So no, I am not saying you are doing the wrong thing if you ever choose to skip doing the dishes right after dinner. You might be a clean-freak who actually should make the ‘hard’ choice to play with your kids instead of doing the dishes first. Just in case you were wondering. And also, (#7) it has been years since I ran a mile. And I don’t feel too guilty about it. But if it resonates with you, go run a mile. 🙂