Doing Hard Things
Happy Tuesday, friends! Let’s talk about doing hard things.
We swim in a culture that proclaims “good things are hard,” and that anything worth doing or achieving is usually difficult. I have worked for things that required immense sacrifice, discipline, and dedication. Taking the GMAT, completing rigorous job interviews, competing in the Miss America program, and moving across the country – all hard things, but ones I believe were worth it.
But I’ve also had many, many experiences of doing a hard thing that brought on anxiety, fear, and overwhelm. I’ve had to learn that just because an opportunity or relationship or project is in front of you, doesn’t mean it’s what God is asking of you.
I think that when we are doing something new and challenging, it often falls into one of two distinct experiences: one of peace or one of anxiety. I can slot the most difficult experiences of my life into one of those two buckets, and I bet you can, too.
Doing a “hard thing” in God’s peace is still, well, hard. It requires work, focus, sacrifice, and courage – but underlying that effort is a deep sense of peace, trust, and hope; a partnership with God if you will.
Doing a “hard thing” in anxiety, however, is a very different experience. The hard work, focus, and sacrifice are still there, but they’re accompanied by an unease that leaves us restless and uncertain. Instead of doing my best and leaving it in God’s hands, these situations often make me feel more grasp-y and less trusting.
We all want to live within the Will of God, the most perfect and generous and good plan for our lives, and that Will is often illuminated by the Fruit of the Spirit, including peace, joy, and faith. So how do we discern if a “hard thing” is an invitation to trust God and His providence, or if it’s time to let it go? Here are three considerations for us:
1. Is there peace in this activity?
When thinking about and working on this hard thing, am I experiencing peace? Or am I experiencing a pit in my stomach, sleeplessness, low appetite, and disinterest in prayer? Am I hiding the truth or parts of this activity or relationship from the people I love?
2. Do I feel like I am becoming more fully myself through this “hard thing?”
In the process of working towards this goal, am I growing in virtue? Do I feel more fully alive? Is this hard thing allowing me to grow out of my weaknesses and exhibit my strengths? Are the people around me encouraging me to be my best self?
3. What is the fruit?
What are the outcomes of this activity? Am I finishing my day with excitement, joy, peace, and love? Or am I agitated, angry, impatient, and prideful? Is my commitment to this project, relationship, or opportunity bringing me closer to or farther from God?
Jesus promises us that His “yoke is easy and burden is light.” We will all have many challenging moments in our lives (that’s guaranteed), but He is here, always, to help us carry on. This week, I encourage all of us to look at what’s on our plates and to take the time to ask the Lord what He is inviting us into, and how we can trust Him more.
What I’m loving lately….
I love love love a paint-by-number, and over the past few weeks, I’ve gotten a few of my friends into them, too. They’re just so much fun!! It’s so relaxing and lovely, especially on these colder evenings! I find the best ones at Michaels, linked here. Don’t forget about their 40% off coupons!! Ft. a pic of my bestie, Erica, helping me with my current project:
The Rosary has pulled me through this week, let me tell you. Amidst a sad and slightly anxiety-ridden situation, I finally found peace while praying my Rosary. Mary is such a perfect mother to us. I had a beautiful image of her wrapping me in her mantle as I was praying my decades… Mama Mary, pray for us!
God knows what we need before we need it, and last night I found a desk chair on the side of the street, after weeks of shopping for one online! He is so generous and good to us. I’ve loved praying little prayers and watching Him come through in such sweet and lovely ways.
- For my retreat this weekend!! Pray for me, I’ll pray for you
- That the mice in my apartment go away
- For a friend walking through heartbreak
- For a few friends who are pregnant!
- For a friend praying to conceive
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Jane was born in Australia, raised in California, and is overjoyed to now call NYC home. She graduated from UCSB with degrees in Political Science and Communication and spent the past two years working in criminal justice reform. She is currently an MBA student at NYU Stern, focusing on entrepreneurship and strategy.