Wednesday, October 23, 2013

It's Not Supposed to Be Easy

Expectations are killers. I can have expectations for how my day is supposed to go, how everyone else is supposed to act, and how I am supposed to feel and those expectations mean nothing. Absolutely nothing. If I can't even control how I feel about things how on earth do I expect to control how someone else acts? And you know what's worse? When things don't go the way I expect it affects how I feel and often how I act.

Here's a big expectation for me. It's supposed to be easy. If I were good at what I do- if I were a good Christian- then being a wife and mom, being a Christian would be easy. I wouldn't struggle with being content. I wouldn't struggle with finding my joy in Jesus instead of my circumstances. I wouldn't struggle with selfishness.

But you won't find that expectation in the Bible. It's not supposed to be easy. The Bible speaks of taking up our cross, dying to self, mortifying the deeds of the flesh, persevering in adversity. It never mentions only doing things that feel good or that you enjoy.

You're not necessarily doing anything wrong if it's not easy. (Now the path of a sinner is hard. See Proverbs 22:5. But I'm not talking about adding hardship to life through sin. I'm talking about life- the day in and out of God's will.) This realization is reassuring beyond measure to me.

I always assumed that if it was hard or I struggled then I was doing something wrong. Or there was something wrong with me. That's a bad expectation for me because I find that doing this work God has placed before me isn't easy. It's not easy to be a wife as the Bible defines a wife. It's not easy to be a mom that loves, teaches, and trains those babies. It's not easy to strive to be a lady that's outlined in the Bible.

We even see this in "secular" life. The activities that bring results aren't easy. No one expects them to be easy.  Working out isn't supposed to be easy. Ever tried Insanity? Definitely not easy. Why do people do it if it's so hard? Because it brings results. Sitting on the couch is easy but it doesn't bring results or change.

Practicing piano isn't easy. Some days it drives me crazy!! But I keep at it because practice brings results. Listening to music or only playing what I'm good at would be easy. But I wouldn't get better.

Life's like that too. Mothering, marriage, jobs, relationships aren't necessarily supposed to be easy.

Some days it's hard.

Some days I have to make myself do the things I don't want to.(And fake a smile while I'm at it.)

So many days I think "Wow, this is not easy." And then I remind myself it's not supposed to be and it takes so much pressure off myself. It can be hard. That's ok. God knows that I appreciate being a mother and a wife and anything else even while I acknowledge that it can be hard. It doesn't mean I'm not trying to be godly or thankful or loving.

But God is using those hard days to make me better. He's using those days to bring results in my life- to make me more like Jesus.

The goal is for me to look like Jesus (Philippians 1:21). Not for life to be easy. I am God's workmanship (Ephesians 2:10), His masterpiece. He is building, sculpting, honing me into something useful, productive, beautiful.  Sculptors and carpenters and builders use tools like sandpaper, chisels, hammers, and kilns.

Sandpaper doesn't feel good. A hammer and chisel can't feel good either. But it gets rid of all the material- the elements- that don't look like the goal. God has an image to guide Him and He is making me into something useful and beautiful and helpful.

Sometimes life's sandpaper. Sometimes it's a hammer and chisel. Sometimes life's just hard.

Don't stop because it's hard. Know your Bible principles and follow them regardless of how you feel. Feelings aren't supposed to be the leaders because feelings make really bad leaders. Relieve yourself of your expectations and remind yourself that it's ok if it's hard.

It's supposed to be hard.

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