God has a sense of humor. I know this because I am a parent. And as a parent I find that many of the life lessons and “pearls of wisdom” I try to impart to my children would mean a lot more if I heeded them first.
Hard Things for an Adult
I woke up this morning in a cranky mood. Not out of the ordinary for me. My reason this morning was that I felt that everything is harder for me than it is for other people. (cry me a river, right?)
I should go into business as a party planner because no one can throw as great a pity party as I can. I often lament about how I work as hard as I know how doing the right things and have “nothing” to show for it. Meanwhile, I watch as other people who are clueless have success “fall into their lap,” almost in spite of their own ineptitude. (My own warped perspective, obviously).
I often ask God to “go easy” on me, as if God is some petulant bully who likes to make my life more difficult than it needs to be. I know that this is a jaded mindset that I must battle (and I do, through regular pastoral counseling) every day but I’m simply being honest.
Ironically, God did decide to “go easy” on me today by once again demonstrating an incredible truth to me through the eyes of my 8 year old. It makes me think of those old advertisements that would say “so easy, a child could do it.”
Hard Things for an 8 year old
My son knows how to tie his shoes and has for a few years now. The trouble is that it can be difficult for him sometimes. He pouts and says the two words that I hate more than anything, “I Can’t.” Followed closely by three other words that aggravate me to no end, “It’s Too Hard.” From my perspective, I think he should have no trouble since he learned how to do it a long time ago. However, I realize now that he often will slip his shoes off without untying them and then try to fit his feet back inside without having to retie them. Clever.
So even though he knows how to do it, he would rather not have to do it because it doesn’t come easy to him. And that’s when it hit me, the sad reality that I needed to come to grips with in my own life.
Even as the words came out of my mouth, I knew they were meant for me even more than him. I said,
“If you avoid it because it’s hard, then it will never be easy.”
I realized in that moment, that my idea of an “easy” life was incorrect. I believed that by avoiding hard things (obstacles, hardships, trials, etc.) that it would make my life easier. But I was deceiving myself. By trying to avoid difficulties, I was actually robbing myself of growth opportunities, which in effect was making even things that shouldn’t be all that difficult seem way harder than they actually were.
For my son, he was avoiding tying his shoes because it was hard, not realizing that if he had kept at it, it would eventually become easy. Sadly, by avoiding it, it actually made it seem even more daunting the next time he had to it.
And that is what hit me between the eyes this morning. Right after trying to “pray away” the difficulties on my plate, God decided to make the lesson so easy for me that even a child could understand it. He is gracious in that way, even if I sometimes have trouble recognizing it.
If I intentionally avoid the necessary things because they are hard, then I’m not making my life easier, I’m only setting myself up to perpetually fail. The hard things will always be there, but we make them seem even harder and more daunting by avoiding them. Instead, we need to take them head on.
Life may not got easier, but by keeping at it, and not saying “I can’t, it’s too hard,” we will no doubt be better equipped to handle adversity the next time around.