Friday, March 16, 2012

Do The Hard Thing

I just got back from a run.

Get up off the floor. Its not THAT shocking. This is not, "Elvis is alive and working at a Burger King in Kalamazoo." (BTW, that was a real rumor when I was a kid.) Granted, I haven't run much in the last year, but I have walked quite a bit and have been using the Gain Fit app on my iPhone since my Lenten commitment to avoid sloth. So it's not like I've been laying around eating Twinkies 16 hours a day...although that sounds pretty good right now.

I ran for the first half of my course then needed a break. I walked for a while, then decided for the rest of the run that I would run up the uphills and walk down the downhills. As I did this, I imagined a conversation with an imaginary friend. We'll call him Phil:

Me: So the last part of my run, I ran up the uphills and walked down the downhills.
Phil: Why?
Me: Why what?
Phil: Why would you walk down the easy part and run up the hard part? That seems, wrong word. Stupid.
Me: Because it just seemed that it would do me more good to do the thing that was hard rather than take it easy...although, I guess I was taking it easy since I wasn't running the whole way. But I didn't want my heart to explode or my legs to be rendered useless. But still, it was hard!

Isn't that so true in other areas of our lives? So often we avoid the hard thing because it is just that: HARD! But in so doing, we often miss out on the good we can only have by doing the hard thing:
  • We don't shut off our phones or computers at home because it is hard to unplug and miss out on prime time to build relationships with our kids and spouse.
  • We don't eat the right foods because it is hard to resist the double chocolate better-than-sin cheesecake and miss out on the opportunity to feel good and lose weight.
  • We don't get up early in the morning to spend time with God because it is hard to lose sleep and miss out on the intimacy that comes from that personal relationship.
  • We don't break up with him/her because it's always hard to break a heart and miss out on being free from an unhealthy relationship.
  • We don't talk with our friend about having a relationship with Jesus because it is hard to not have all the answers and miss out on an opportunity to participate in their faith journey and maybe leading them to Christ.
  • We don't give our money to the church or other places where it is needed because it is hard to part with cold, hard cash and miss out on being a part of something bigger than ourselves.
  • We don't have a difficult conversation with a loved one because it's hard to confront someone and miss out on the freedom from the 'I should've said' spectre.
  • We don't go on a mission trip because it would be hard to give up a week of vacation and miss out on the joy of being used by God in a significant way.
This is NOT to say to simply do something hard because it will always result in something good. Cutting off your leg with a butter knife would be hard, but wouldn't necessarily result in something good. But many good things in life come only as a result of doing the hard thing.

1 Corinthians 9:24-27: Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! 25 All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. 26 So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. 27 I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.

What good thing do you wish to attain? What is the hard thing you need to do to get there?

No comments: