It’s been a hot second since I have written a blog, but I have been reminded of a reoccurring lesson in my life.
I was on a 16-mile run about a month ago, and I kept hearing The Lord say to me “keep doing the hard things Brookie”.
Do them even when you can’t see the reward. Do the hard things when no one is watching. Do the hard things, even though it seems opposite to what everyone else is doing.
Matthew 7:13-14 kept coming to mind “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” I encourage you to read the entire chapter of Matthew 7, but this one principle that Jesus is teaching has struck home for me.
Think about the hard things in life. It could be marathon training, starting a business from scratch, building a house, building a relationship, raising kids, or dieting. Each of these in nature do not match up with the culture we live in of instant gratification. We live in a generation where we microwave dinners, send a text to show we care, post a picture for quick validation, and start a diet every other Monday.
When I heard Jesus say “do the hard things” I was on South Tropical trail on mile one. I thought about it throughout the entire run. It was super early in the morning before the sun was up. It felt lonely at times until I saw other people who were running the same route. There weren’t many runners, maybe 3 or 4 other people. When I finished my run, I was so excited that I was still alive and could move, lol! At times it felt like I was going to die or lose one of my toes, but when it was all said and done, I felt so accomplished and felt alive more than ever!
Doing the hard things seems risky but it is far more rewarding, refining, and restoring than anything this world has to offer.
Let’s use the simple imagery of a water bottle. A wide-mouthed water bottle allows the water to rush from the spout and flood your mouth which makes it difficult to enjoy, let alone breathe. The water runs out much faster. (Soaking up every pleasure of this world by taking matters into your own hands will only satisfy you for a split second.) A narrow-spout water bottle allows the water to flow in a natural way, sure it may take a bit more work on your end, but all in all the patient flow of the water is far more satisfying and timely. (Letting The Lord provide your needs and answer your prayers amid the hard things creates everlasting joy in this life and the life to come) The narrow way is not easy and extremely unpopular, but when you look around and see others next to you choosing to do the same things, you can’t help but be encouraged.
One of the hardest lessons in my life is trusting that The Lord will come through for me. (PS He always does) I tend to think He needs my help. When you choose the narrow way of life, it may look funky maybe even crazy to other people. However, you can trust that He sees you and delights in you. He will not be made a fool, and He will honor your obedience to Him. “What The Lord sees in private, He will reward you in public” (Matthew 6:6)
We live in a culture where we are taught to chase our dreams, make a lot of money, and capture the best moments in between. I am not saying that having dreams, fun times, and having money is a bad thing at all. However, when we make those our main focus and block out the beauty of the patient pursuit of eternal matters, we are really missing out on life. Doing the hard things could look different in everyone’s lives. It could be giving half your paycheck away, it could be covering someone else’s shift, it could be staying home on the weekend to work on your marriage, it could be apologizing to a close friend or family member, or it could be simply taking a break from the hustle of this life to hear God’s voice. Ask Him what He wants you to do, He will let ya know. He is a personal God 😉
The narrow way of following Jesus may not be easy at times, but we have a promise that it will lead to life. And of course the greatest example we have of this: is Jesus dying on the cross for sins He didn’t commit. Because we believe that He rose again 3 days later, we know that doing the hard things really does reap reward here on earth and in Heaven. If He wouldn’t have chosen the narrow way, none of us would have the gift of eternal life.
Obedience is not Religious Rules
Currently, the hard things I am learning are patience, obedience, and humility. These traits may not be advertised on Instagram, but I know that when I pursue them, I will be able to see Him more clearly- moving in my life. The narrow way is not popular, but it’s the road Jesus took, as well as many other people I admire. The road that leads to abundant life. Nothing excites me more than asking Jesus what He wants me to do, doing it, and watching Him show up in big and exciting ways! When you think of obedience don’t think of religious rules, think of resurrection. PS: when you choose Him, prepare yourself for abundant and miraculous blessings.
“Then Jesus called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet lose their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.” Mark 8:34-36