When Things Seem Too Hard
One of my children has a habit of complaining that things are "too hard." It kind of drives me nuts. A major part of the problem is that everything that requires effort gets labeled "too hard," which means (in the child’s mind) that it’s not worth tackling.
Because I was finding myself rather unsympathetic to this way of thinking, I spent some time probing my own experiences with things I thought were "too hard." When I was a young mother with the tantrumy kid in the supermarket, parenting seemed too hard. When my son John’s anxiety spun out of control and required significant intervention, it seemed too hard and overwhelming. When another child developed major anxiety issues, the additional layer of care seemed like way too much to ask.
All of these examples had certain characteristics in common:
- None of them were situations I had chosen.
- Each had an "I don’t know what to do" factor.
- In every instance I was required to grow in a way I didn’t understand (or like).
- In every case, I began to solve my problem only when I decided that giving up wasn’t an option.
- In every case, I needed to look outside myself for help identifying these factors which in turn helped me empathize with my child and figure out ways to shift "too hard" to just plain "hard."
It also made me appreciate how God acts in my own life. Left to my own devices, I’d wail that many things were too difficult to get through–and never grow. But God has other plans. They may be hard, but they’re not impossible... even if I can’t see that at the time.
What brings us joy rather than pleasure? What truly nourishes our hearts?
If your prayer life is rich, anything on a day's crowded agenda can be God's work.