Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Do The Hard Thing

My husband Joe and I had a disagreement the other day. 

When I say we had a "disagreement" I mean I wanted to gouge his eyes out. 

He offended me and I felt absolutely justified to hold a grudge, give him the cold shoulder, and hate him forever. 

I went for a long walk and I put on Pandora. I asked God to speak to me while I was walking off some steam. 

I was hateful and indignant. With every stomp of my foot, I recounted the ways Joe upset me. 

As I walked in a beautiful neighborhood on a gorgeous day with the sun shining and people out playing in their yards and visiting their neighbors, the music soothed my soul and I was quiet enough to hear God. 

And it's not as if He spoke audibly to me, but I definitely felt a message being pressed against my heart.

Do the Hard Thing

And I resisted it at first. I turned up my music and waited for the song with lyrics that would assure me I was in the right and Joe was in the wrong and I merely had to wait patiently for his apology. 

Instead, song after song played extolling the virtues of grace and forgiveness and mercy and love. 

This one in particular by Sidewalk Prophets hit me right between the eyes:
See now, I am the man who yelled out from the crowd
For Your blood to be spilled on this earth shaking ground
Yes then I turned away with the smile on my face
With this sin in my heart tried to bury Your grace
And then alone in the night I still called out for You
So ashamed of my life, my life, my life

But You love me anyway
Oh, God, how you love me
Yes, You love me anyway
It’s like nothing in life that I’ve ever known
Yes, You love me anyway
Oh, Lord, how You love me
Yes, You love me,
Yes, You love me
Yes, You love me,
Yes, You love me
How You love me
How You love me
How You love me

Did I mention this took place on Easter Sunday?

When I had just sat through an amazing church service where I cried the entire time over Christ's forgiveness and grace. His mercy and  unending love was fresh in my mind.

So I couldn't ignore it. I couldn't pretend I hadn't just bawled through an hour of glorious praises to my Savior--the Man who died in such a gruesome and humiliating fashion...for me...knowing all my faults and short-comings.

I had to pause in the middle of my tantrum and realize Jesus did The Hard Thing. Every time.

He lived like a nomad, with nowhere to lay His head (Luke 9:58).

He was pursued by church leaders and broken people day after day, some trying to make Him look like a fool and others begging for healing. He often retreated by Himself to recharge (Luke 5:16).

He chose to be beaten and bruised and nailed to a cross for me (Matthew 27).

He definitely did The Hard Thing.

With each step I took, my resolve to be angry and indignant melted even as my resolve to be the one who does The Hard Thing grew stronger.

I realized this surpasses my marriage. Doing The Hard Thing extends out to my everyday life:

Offer grace to the driver who cuts me off in traffic.

Offer patience when my children test me.

Offer mercy when a loved one hurts me.

Be brave enough to have the hard conversations when sweeping it under the rug seems easier.

Be humble enough to admit when I have fallen short and ask for forgiveness.

Be generous enough to cheer someone else on, even with a bruised ego and even at my own expense.

Be like Christ and put others ahead of my own selfish desires.

Doing The Hard Thing and being more Christ-like when doing The Easy Thing seems better and a whole lot simpler, is when I will be the closest to Christ; that's when I will be strongest and in the center of His will.

And that is easily The Best Thing.

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