“Phew, she canceled on me, I don’t actually have to leave the house today.”
I didn’t have to get out of my pajamas for another couple hours. I had spent the day before, laying on my couch for most of the day, and here I was wanting to do the same. Even with piles of laundry on my bed and a sink full of dirty dishes, and I had a BBQ that I was invited to later. I was given relief for a few more hours.
No one really talks about the hard days growing up. They tell you things like, “Work hard and you will be successful.” “Get an education and you can have a great job.” “You never know when you will meet your spouse, but you will.”
Life is hard. Sometimes there are things we encounter that are hard simply because they are. It isn’t necessarily because we did something or there were big changes, but because the daily grind of life is a toil. It is hard.
However, the hard days are glossed over for this thing that we are chasing, “THE GOOD LIFE.” The life that is comfortable and secure, with enough money in your bank account, a good job, marriage, kids, a minivan, a house in the suburbs. Or maybe a version of that.
But what we don’t talk about enough is that life is hard, difficult and messy.
People get cancer, people end up not finding the love of their life in college, jobs get cut, houses fall apart, cars break down, babies never come or miscarry, people change, move away or hurt you.
In the midst of hard days, we chose one of two routes, either push through the hard or numb ourselves out and avoid it.
The later is usually my choice. Hard days lead to exhaustion and spent emotions. I long for rest and refreshment and for some reason, the idea of laying on my couch doing nothing always sounds appealing. I turn on Netflix and zone out. My addictive personality is fed and satisfied, and craving more. T
wo days later it is time for me to go to work again and I still feel exhausted. I just spent my weekend not really living, just numb. Feeling far from God, not really experiencing anything.
I let myself hide, not face the hard things, because I think it will be easier. I avoid friends, and pretend it is just because I am not working out and didn’t get enough of my summer. But that is a lie.
It hits me Monday morning….
“Is this the life you really want?”
Even though I am living a life that I didn’t necessarily imagine, it can still be a life that I choose.
Because if I am truly honest, I just react to what life throws at me. I tell myself that it isn’t my fault, “things changed,” “I am not in control of certain things in my life.” I let myself fall into the depression, when I know that there are patterns that perpetuate these feelings. These patterns pull me down in the pit.
But it is a lie that I believe that I can’t help how life has turned out. Because I chose how I spend my days.
I chose whether or not to get out of bed in good time on a Saturday morning. I chose to turn on the TV instead of just going to bed. I chose to not text my friend back because I just want to escape from the questions.
That other route…the one that involves pushing through the hard things. The one less traveled. It means doing hard things. And the truth is….we are fully capable to work through hard things. We can chose to face the hard things and still live despite the trials and level of difficulty.
I am not saying that this is a white knuckle through hard things, just trying harder, doing more or fix it yourself. That’s a lie too.
Because the greatest promise is that we aren’t left on our own. Often I have chosen to be numb because I believed that I had to push the hard thing on my own, I had to face down the demon by myself.
I don’t. I don’t stand on this earth without someone standing right beside me/in front of me.
Friends, this isn’t a confession of figuring life out, or telling the story how I have conquered the avoidance tactics I take when things get tough. This is a confession that I am not good at this, running towards life instead of from it.
This is a recognition that this is not the life that I want to live. This is not how I want to spend my days! I want to live life present and alive, in connection God and with the people that I love. I want to uncover the life and passion that are underneath the surface of these numb feelings. The older I get, the more I realize that the hard days make the good ones even sweeter and more full.
The ironic thing is that I said these words to a student last week that maybe I need for myself, “I know that this hard, but I believe that you can do hard things. You have the potential to do a lot of hard things.”
If you think about human history, and how we continue to advance, break records, and overcome odds against all sorts of circumstances, we are capable of more that we would ever believe.
AND we have one that overcame first and did THE HARDEST THING so that we wouldn’t have to. He overcame the world, he fought back the enemy and won. So that even in the midst of trials and tribulation we would know that it isn’t the END!
Friends, take heart. We have an savior that knows that trials will come, and hasn’t left us alone. He has overcome the world, so that the world won’t overcome us.
Do you take the hard road or the avoidance one like I do? Do you lean in or run away? How do you find encouragement when things are just plain hard?
(As I was finishing this post, I looked back at some of my previous posts in the last month. They are all about hard things, change, conquering hard things….it is sort of a theme, but I am okay with that! I hope you keep reading!)