I like easy things. Things I’m good at. Things that don’t put up a fight.
I like drive-thrus, and free two-day shipping, and not running. Never, ever running.
In fact, I believe that I might actually be allergic to difficult things. I react to them in ways that can only be described using words ending in “zilla”. Momzilla. Wifezilla. Runzilla. And let’s not forget My-Toddler-Woke-Me-Up-At-Five-Thirty-Zilla.
But, oh yes, it gets deeper.
Vulnerability-zilla, Humility-zilla, and Forgiveness-zilla have all made appearances. And I’m not talking about cameos; these monsters have recurring roles.
I’m working on it. Please stand by.
The point is, hard things apply a certain kind of pressure to our lives that will either cause us to explode like old pipes or compel us to change into new people. People who are more willing and able to appreciate the purpose of the pressure.
Six months ago I gave birth to my second son, and from that moment until today, I have been face to face with the most difficult task of my life. Adjusting to life with our first son was a challenge, but this? This is man-on-the-moon level. If I succeed, it might just be a conspiracy. An illusion. An impossibility. (This is not an official statement of my beliefs about the moon landing hoax.)
In reality, I wondered why no one had told me that the transition from one kid to two would be so impossible. But then again, people aren’t apt to publicly discuss their trauma. I know that might sound hyperbolic, but managing a toddler at home while caring for a fussy newborn is something out of a horror movie parody. Is it scary? Is it funny? Is it ever going to end? I still don’t know.
But what I do know is that it has changed me. After spending several weeks pushing back against the pressure, unwilling to accept the fact that this was going to require more of me than I had ever been willing to give, I realized that the only thing eligible for change was me. The circumstances were fixed, but my attitude was flexible. And I decided to flex it.
I had been frustrated, overwhelmed, and beyond exhausted. I decided I needed to be grateful, patient, and humble enough to ask for help.
By no means has this little journey been easy for me. And that’s not a new phenomenon. Hard things are not easy (thank you, Captain Obvious). But they are good. Good for the soul. Good for the heart. Good for the will. If we are willing.
I’m reminded of the Apostle Paul’s infamous “thorn in the flesh” (2 Corinthians 12:7-9). He couldn’t remove or change that thorn no matter how much he pleaded with God. It was here to stay. But when God assured Paul of His grace, Paul’s attitude changed. He began to embrace weakness and hardship because he was able to see their purpose.
While I was resisting the pressure, I was unhappy, unloving, and quite frankly unspiritual, scarcely making time to pray and meditate on God’s word. My weaknesses were being exposed and I didn’t appreciate it.
But, like the natural process that requires intense heat and extreme pressure to transform dense carbon into diamonds, I began to see beauty and brilliance emerge from this trying season when I let the pressure fulfill its purpose.
So, what is your pressure that seems impossible to bear? Your horror movie parody. Your hard thing. Whatever it is, it’s going to change you.
If you’re in this kind of season, you cannot stay the same. But it’s your choice how you change. Will your inner “Zillas” overcome you? Or will you choose to let the pressure transform you and reveal the beauty of it all?
When the heat is on, when the pressure is mounting, who will you become?
I’ve decided to become a little bit better. One day, one moment, one opportunity at a time.
I’m challenging myself to do hard things. Finding joy in giving more of myself to serve my family. Carving out time in my day to get back into a rhythm of writing, even though I’d rather be napping. I’ve even started running several times a week. Yes. Running. And no one is chasing me, I’m doing it for my health. I’m doing all of this flexing and changing for the glory of God, and for the good of my family. And for the life-transforming benefits of doing hard things.
You are cordially invited to join me!