Go on; Do Hard Things
My husband and I live in a sweet little townhouse with a cute backyard. When we moved in, we saw green, leafy stems planted along the wooden fence out back. We actually considered ripping them out and replacing them with new plants. Instead, we decided to just let them grow.
Then this spring I discovered my favorite flowers were blooming back there, and I could hardly even handle it. Massive blue, purple, and magenta hydrangeas were making a dramatic appearance. I’d step outside on to our patio multiple times a day to take a peek (and a billion pictures). I’m head over heels for those blooming beauties. I’ve placed vases of hydrangeas throughout my house, and I stare at them and swoon over flowers I didn’t even plant.
Isn’t it so crazy? I’ve got these huge, stunning flowers in my backyard—and I didn’t do one thing to make them grow. The previous homeowner must’ve had a fabulous green thumb! They might’ve even tended to the plants for years . . . and here I am obsessing over the blooms as if they were total magic.
Oh, that life were like my hydrangeas, right? No hard work. All reward.
Reality doesn’t follow with my flower story. It’s actually just about the opposite. Beautiful, worthwhile things don’t magically appear; they take work, dedication, focus, time.
It’s one of those facts of life that older generations will tell you, and you nod your head but really don’t feel like believing it. Because it doesn’t
sound fun or exciting or big. In fact, it sounds kind of mundane.
I hear you. I don’t feel like waiting for good things or working for beautiful things. I’d prefer for those things to bloom without much effort, just like my pink hydrangeas.
But if we stray from facing hard work and challenges, we’ll fall so short of God’s best for our lives. He calls us to labor diligently, faithfully for Him.
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ (Col. 3:23–24).
If we want to become mature women who honor Christ with our lives, we’ll recognize—and act upon—this truth: Beautiful things that impact God’s kingdom require diligent working, patient waiting, and sometimes even painful suffering.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing (James 1:2–4, emphasis added).
Steadfastness: constancy, faithfulness, adherence, attachment. This word carries the idea of sticking with something faithfully throughout an entire process so that we may grow and mature in Christ.
We’re called to work with all our hearts for the glory of God, to wait patiently for His timing, and to be steadfast during difficult situations.
Why? What’s the purpose? The goal is to know Christ (1 Peter 4:19), to love Him, to be filled with the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22–23), and to impact a lost world with the gospel (Matt. 5:13–16).
We’re called to work with all our hearts for the glory of God, to wait patiently for His timing, and to be steadfast during difficult situations. That’s
when beautiful, powerful, world-changing, God-glorifying things are created.
What does this mean for you, right now, in your world?
Start with the Small Things
Take on the small challenges first.
- Pick up your clothes from the floor.
- Fold your clean laundry.
- Wash your own dishes.
- Learn to balance a checkbook.
- Put effort into your homework.
- Eat fruits and veggies instead of cookies.
- Read long books.
- Get into the Word every day.
It may sound kind of strange to even call those tasks “challenges,” but let’s get honest with ourselves—they’re hard. Those small tasks often pose big challenges for us. We rarely feel like doing them!
But imagine what could happen if we started facing those small challenges every day. Doing the hard things. Good things would come from the work we’d be doing.
We want to become godly women who reflect Christ (Prov. 31), right? We want to be responsible women, educated and thoughtful women, women faithful to the Word of God. Those beautiful things require work. So we start here, with the small things that add up into big things.
Small Things Prepare Us for Big Things
What are some of your passions, dreams, and goals? God has gifted you with unique abilities and skills, and He wants to use you to accomplish His gospel mission. Are you willing to invest the time and the work required? To face challenges?
I’ve found this commentary on 2 Peter 1:5–8 helpful:
We need to be constantly reminded that the Christian life is a challenge to endure. It is not enough to start off in a blaze of glory; we must persevere in spite of difficulties. The idea that Christianity is an unending round of mountaintop experiences is unrealistic. There is the daily routine, the menial task, the disappointing circumstance, the bitter grief, the shattered plan (Believer’s Bible Commentary, 2290).
While I’m trimming vibrant hydrangeas for my coffee table, I’m thinking about the things in my own life that will require more work and endurance.
I have some pretty big dreams I’d love to make a reality for God’s kingdom. Are you dreaming with me? More importantly, are we asking the Lord what He would have us doing right now, today, in our own worlds?
If any fruit is produced through our faithfulness, all glory goes to Him.
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 15:57).
By Samantha Nieves