Do the Hard Work

The other day, I went for a bike ride with my daughter. We took a path that led us through a part of town that is not too developed yet, so there was lots of beautiful and lush natural greenery around us. A few minutes into the ride, we came upon a tree that had fallen to the ground. Actually, it was more like just the trunk that was left. We could see inside of the trunk because it had cracked open upon falling. My surprised daughter commented, "How in the world could that happen, Mommy!? That tree was HUGE!" 

Indeed it was. So how does something like that happen? How does something that appeared strong and sturdy and well rooted, suddenly crumble? Well, on this tree, it started from the inside out. It was full of rot. This got me thinking about how any one of us could look like we've got it all together by our outward appearances, yet be infested with something eating away at us on the inside. We may project a fantastic and healthy facade, but be crumbling under the enormous weight of our problems, regrets, doubts, or brokenness. 

Have you ever taken the time to reflect on how these things may be connected to your spiritual and mental health, and how they might be the cause of some division in your life? Have you ever done something that you weren't particularly proud of? When this happened, did you think to yourself, "Where in the world did that come from? Why did I just do that!?" Sometimes, I easily lose my patience and snap at my kids (okay...maybe not so much 'snap' but more like scream at the top of my lungs) and then I feel guilty because I've really blown the whole situation out of proportion, and have then made it worse with my erroneous behavior. What about greed? Ever been seduced into thinking that more really would be better? The comparison game that I've played before has had me looking at my life (or myself) as "less than" and, if we're being honest here, envy begins to take grip of my heart. Have you suddenly realized that pride is slowly eroding you? Do you live with an agonizing feeling of guilt over something you did and can't forgive yourself for it? Are you having trouble finding the courage to be honest with yourself? Are you dishonest with those around you? Do you feel it is practically impossible to trust that person again because they hurt you? Do you lie awake in bed at night because your mind is racing with fear and worry about something? Whatever it is that's poisoning the inside of you and your soul, and making you feel like your current situation is hopeless and will not or cannot change, think again. Now don't get me wrong....I'm here to fully admit and recognize that fixing these things is HARD WORK. The kind of hard work that requires your earnest attention and time and patience and sweat and tears. In many cases, it also requires some professional assistance (I speak from personal experience on that one). Did I mention it also takes time? And God's timing can be really, really difficult to accept. We want relief and results immediately when we are in an unpleasant situation. But here's where the other part of the equation for success and transformation comes into play: trusting God. 

Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord God is the eternal rock. (Isaiah 26:4, NLT)

The challenge of always trusting God has been a gigantic hurdle for me. It's really a lesson that He's been trying to teach me for YEARS. It's one thing for me to say it and think it, and a whole other experience to authentically feel it. Despite my doubts and mistrust, He has proven Himself over and over again to me. It's taken a long time, but I now know (with my heart, soul and mind) that His Love for me is real, and He is never letting go. God never wavers in His relentless pursuit to show me, and you, how much He loves and how powerful and capable He really is. 

Can your current unsavory situation change? Absolutely. Is it going to take a lot of work on your part? Absolutely. Is it going to take time? Absolutely. Is it a good idea to partner with God and trust Him? ABSOLUTELY! 

Do the hard work. I'm here to attest that the redemption that can result from your efforts, combined with His love and grace, will be so worth it. 

Valerie admires truth-seekers, yearns to learn more about God and herself through life's circumstances, and believes that good food plus good wine plus good company equals happiness.  She and her husband are high school sweethearts, and they have the privilege of raising two beautiful daughters.  She is not a huge fan of talking on the phone, but would much rather catch up with someone in person.  Most days, you'll find her in yoga pants and a ponytail.