Grace and Hard Things


As the year comes to a close, I find myself reviewing  my goals and feeling a bit discouraged by how many are left undone.

I can recount numerous opportunities I’ve wasted (I’ll take this week off to veg instead of doing that house project), countless times I’ve done second things first (Well…this is pretty important. And more fun), and lots of work about work (Just a bit more research…).

I can console myself by looking at what I have accomplished. My wife said I met all the family goals on my list. I kept blogging on a regular basis. Lots of other stuff got accomplished. And hey, I do have two little kids.

But when I go to God in prayer I hear two things:

  1. Grace
  2. Hard Things

Grace – God reminds me that the goals he calls me to are impossible to achieve on my own. I’m supposed to need his help because that’s the way he’s designed it to work. In his wisdom, he intentionally challenges me to do things that will reveal my weaknesses, my fears, my insecurities, my excuses. And in those gaps between where I am and where I want to be, he meets me. Not as a loud taskmaster but as a loving friend. Let’s work through this together. When I do, I come out so much better on the other side and realize that maybe the goal was as much about who I’m becoming as what I’m achieving. Maybe more. Probably more.

Hard Things – God reminds me that first things are often hard things. And he’s so proud of me when I tackle them head on. Every time I press into them, it makes me stronger, more effective in the kingdom, more helpful to others. All the heroes of the faith did hard things. They’re a basic part of discipleship and the litmus test for maturity. I memorize Romans 5:3-4 which sounds like complete nonsense but it’s true.

And so in December I begin to pick up those things I’ve avoided all year. I think, Who knows how much I can get done with the time that’s left? The work is hard, but there’s grace.

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