Have you ever learned or grown from things being easy? I do not think I have, yet I tend to strive for it and listen to voices that encourage ease. I spend a lot of money for ease and comfort, and yet, I have nothing to show for it.
The most fruitful parts of my life have been because of hard work and struggle and suffering. Pain is not easy, but it reminds me of what is true, important, good, lasting. Struggle causes me to look to the source of life, God. Struggle and pain and adversity stretch me beyond my limits to see that I need to depend on Christ and let go of things that I have valued above Him.
This week I read a challenging book and listened to a challenging sermon that have stretched me to think beyond comfort. The book is written for teenagers, but it is really for all of us! It is called Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris. They have a website called The Rebelution that encourages teenagers to rebel against low expectations. I read it to check it out as a resource, and I was challenged with a fire lit inside me to do hard things.
They begin the book by addressing the concept of adolescence that began over a century ago. They proceed to show how adolescence has become a breeding ground for low expectations. I was convicted how I, myself, have encouraged teenagers to relax and not push themselves too hard. I have adopted a worldview of our culture instead of a biblical worldview about adolescence. I see even how I struggled in my early twenties with what I wanted to do. I stretched my adolescence out a lot. I see young adults do it all the time. We want to live as long as we can for pleasure when there is a lot of work to be done. We are created to live and work and be productive–as Christians for the glory of Christ.
The book shares many stories of teenagers who are pushing themselves to do hard things. They share their struggle and enjoyment in it–and their failure at times. They point out five things that one needs to do and be aware of when tackling the goal of doing hard things…they include: how to do hard things that step out of your comfort zone, how to do hard things that go beyond what is expected or required, how to do hard things that are too big for you to do alone (need for collaboration), how to do hard things that don’t pay off immediately, and how to do hard things that go against the crowd.
Reading this in light of my current path in life, I was challenged, encouraged and fired up in a way I have not felt since I was 18. I guess in my own way, I am a person of adventure, but I still struggle with fear. The older I get, the more safety becomes an idol in my heart. I am in the midst of working towards forming a non-profit, and before I left for the beach, I spent a week researching all I needed to do. I was what you call—overwhelmed and scared and intimidated. This book reminded me of hard work, trust in God, collaboration with others and perseverence. I felt energized after reading it. God also reminded me that this venture is not about me…it is about His kingdom and His gospel. It is about fighting the good fight by investing my life in teaching Truth. He can do it without me, but I want to surrender in obedience to the life He has called me to. I do not want to miss out because I want a nicer, newer house or a respected reputation or a heftier 401K. My friends, I want to live for the furthering of His kingdom through the good news of Jesus Christ. It is not a mere whim of faith. I was reminded that it will be hard…hard work. There will be times it feels or maybe is impossible, and then I am reminded that in God all things are possible.
The culmination of my week was listening to a John Piper sermon driving back. In his famous fashion, my heart was wrenched as I listened to Him speak on a Living a Radical life for the Supremacy of Christ. He reminded that the comfort that we worship is nothing. He reminded me that God calls us to meet Him (Christ) outside of the Gate (comfort and safety) (Hebrews). He spoke of suffering with Christ. My heart welled in me…my spirit soared because safety and comfort and new curtains do not bring joy–knowing and following Christ does. I have experienced it time and time again in the hardest parts of marriage and friendships and sickness and death–my Hope and life and joy is in Christ. I get sick and saddened when I see myself and friends and family living just like the world when we have such a higher hope.
I listened to two more sermons yesterday that reminded me, with clarity, of the gospel–our hope. My prayer is to remember these truths–this purpose. My prayer is that I store up treasures in heaven. My prayer is that we would sharpen one another toward this end. I am reminded of His grace that calls me to truth, gives me strength and courage and gently reminds me I am not alone. I am reminded that it is not my own power that I rely on.

Published by jenpinkner

45 years old Married Mom to 2 From Tennessee

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