My verse of the day app (that I’m doing with my confirmand!) popped up with this goodness from Psalm 119 (The Message) today:
“You’re blessed when you stay on course, walking steadily on the road revealed by God. You’re blessed when you follow his directions, doing your best to find him. That’s right – don’t go off on your own; you walk straight along the road he set. You, God, prescribed the right way to live; now you expect us to live it. Oh, that my steps might be steady, keeping the course you set; Then I’d never have any regrets in comparing my life with your counsel. I thank you for speaking straight from your heart; I learn the pattern of your righteous ways. I’m going to do what you tell me to do; don’t ever walk off and leave me.”
Walking steadily along the road sounds so relaxing, like a sunset walk on the beach (or down by the bog), like something that should be easy. But, if we zoom out a bit, that road is no longer as pretty and simple as we wish. Sure, there may be fields of wildflowers here and there, but there are also narrow bridges and steep hills and unexpected roadblocks to overcome. Yet even with those unexpected hard things in the path, God still expects us to press on down the course he’s created for us.
Pastor Joseph gave me a new book to read called Do Hard Things and its audience is teenagers, but I can feel it speaking to me in so many ways. I was sort of raised to believe that when things got hard or too complicated or messy to just quit. And yes, sometimes that’s the right answer, but a bigger portion of the time it’s not, God’s just trying to teach you something. This book is timely for me because I’ve been finding myself doing a lot of hard things (to me, any ways) lately. I’ve said I was wrong, I stayed for the fight when wanted so desperately to shut down, I pulled someone aside and let them know their words were hurtful, I listened as someone told me they disagreed with me. I started training for a 5K with a friend, I went to an exercise class that I’m still shaking from, I did the splits, I admitted that I sin, I made the first move. I took a step back, I stayed in the same place, I listened when I didn’t want to, I put my marriage first, I ran to God instead of my vices.
The crazy thing is, the more I do these hard things – the more hard things I want to do. Yeah, I think it sounds completely nutso, but it’s true! I’ve had better conversations and challenged myself more in the past month than I have since I was a kid climbing trees. I kind of love this do hard things mentality. We’re capable of so much more than we give ourselves credit for, God made us to do so many different things – he’s set the road and we’re supposed to accomplish the hard things along the way along with those easy ones. When we do the hard things on the path God has for us, we grow and we get stronger for the path ahead.
What hard things is God asking you to face today?