I can’t tell you how often I hear, “But that’s hard!” Whether it’s a person I’m doing ministry with or a woman I’m discipling or someone facing a challenge at work, there seems to be a national aversion to doing the hard thing. My usual response? “SO?”
I’m not sure what has happened to our nation. Our parents’ and grandparents’ generations didn’t flinch at hard. Taking the beach at Normandy? Now that’s hard. Crossing the plains in a covered wagon? Hard. My 13-year-old grandmother came to America from Ireland with the responsibility of working and sending money back for the next sibling to come. That was hard! But it’s the hard things that have made us the nation we are. Or were… And it’s the hard things that build our character, both personally and nationally.
I’ve done a lot of hard things in my life. Admittedly, I groused and complained about many of them. Having to work my way through not only college and grad school, but even high school. Taking responsibility for my siblings when my dad died when I was only 17. Homeschooling my son while recovering from an challenging childhood. Starting seminary at the age of 59. Long distance caregiving. Yep, I’ve done my share of hard. But I like to think it’s built my character. I like to think it’s made me the person I’ve become.
So when I hear that something is hard, I actually rejoice. If I give an assignment that isn’t hard, then it won’t do what it’s supposed it. It’s like weight training. A weight that’s too light won’t do diddly. It’ll make you tired without building muscle. But a weight that’s a little bit heavy. That will do what it’s intended to do. I want people to gain the skill of doing the hard thing because I know it will benefit their character and their healing.
How about you? How do you feel about doing the hard?