I’m not going to pretend that I know what it is you’re doing or going through that is hard. What I do know is that throughout life we often face difficulties or the task of climbing (or wanting to climb) mountains that seem too high or too steep, and we’re just tired, sometimes before we even get started.
Perhaps we’re going through a difficult time in our lives. Or, maybe we’ve committed to something such as learning something new, reaching a new fitness goal, or going back to school, and we find we are struggling to stick with it.
Whatever the “hard” is that we’re going through, sometimes it seems impossible to make it through. Over the past nine years of hard growth, and a more recent thorough crushing by God, I’ve learned big lessons on endurance and perseverance in times of trial and learning that I’d love to share with you.
Before we dive into that, though, I want to encourage you, my friend. You can, indeed, do hard things. You are strong and have everything you need. Sometimes we just need to know which tools to tap into to make it through.
Some days it might feel nearly impossible to push through yet another day of whatever your hard is, but what I’ve learned from my own journey and by journeying alongside many other heroic women who are pushing through their own version of hard is–it’s absolutely possible.
Here, I share some of the tools that have helped me and many others find the strength to get through the hard and begin stepping into the greatness that God has in store for us.
It All Starts in the Heart
Have a why fueled by desire
The word “Desire – De Sire” means “of the Father.”
For years, I’d hear people say, “God wants to grant you the desires of your heart,” but I never really understood the connection until I realized what the word desire actually means. When we have a relationship with our Father and surrender to His perfect will, the desires that enter into our hearts are often an indication of His will.
What does He want?
I bring this up because I’ve learned that the desires God has placed in our heart such as the desire to find healing and restoration, discipline our bodies by changing our eating habits, or go after a new goal, can all, indeed, be in line with His will. And when we are in line with the will of God, we’ll have the grace we need to push through, to get back up, and to keep moving forward–even when we feel like it’s getting too hard.
On the other hand, if our desires are not intimately connected with our faith and trust in God, then what we’re working towards can also become disordered and fueled by vanity, fear, greed, sensuality, and a whole plethora of things. This is why taking the time to pray each day and making our days a constant coming back to prayer is so important. It’s how we keep our compass in line so our desires are continually pointing us on a path towards heaven.
Having the desire to change is important. What’s even more important is putting a name to what that desire means in our lives. This is often key to tapping into that drive that pushes us through the difficult times, especially when we are tired and just don’t feel like getting back up or taking another step.
In the world of personal development, this drive is often called tapping into your why. Have you ever heard someone talk about their why or ask you what your why is? In my experience with coaching women, I’ve had this conversation many times. Discovering our why is all about digging deep and about finding out what’s truly fueling that desire.
To find our why, we need to ask ourselves–why is this important to me? Regardless of what it is–finding healing or working towards a goal, why is it important? Usually, our first answer isn’t the real reason. We have to keep asking ourselves, “Why?” until we hit a point where we have a physical reaction to our answer.
John C. Maxwell, a leadership expert and Christian author, says that when we figure out our own why, it will strike us so deeply that it will often make us cry. I believe it’s because that’s the root of the desire that’s been placed in our hearts. It’s often where Jesus wants to take us on our journey to healing and restoration.
When we get to the root of it, our why can be something as simple and compelling as finding freedom or learning to love ourselves.
When we take the time to figure out our why and the hard times hit, in the midst of the struggle, we can tap back into that desire. It will help give us that extra push we need to get back up when we fall or keep on going when we simply want to quit.
Questions for Your Journal:
When I’m sitting in prayer or quiet with God, what are the desires that fire up my heart?
Is God speaking to me through this desire?
If so, what’s my why? (Keep asking yourself why this is important until you get to the heart of why that desire is so strong. What is God asking for you? Order? Peace? Courage?).
My Jesus, let the desires in my heart be united to the desires of your heart.
It’s All About Love and Trust
Love and do what you will.”St. Augustine
Jesus, I trust in you.”Jesus to St. Faustina
Over the years, I’ve learned that trust is essential to endurance and perseverance.
When we’re taking steps towards the desires that God has placed on our hearts, it’s easy to ask the question, “but what is His will for my life?” If we’re not sure that we’re within the will of God, then having endurance and persevering in the hard times would be difficult, because we still lack conviction.
I love the above quote by St. Augustine, and when married to the quote from the message of Divine Mercy, I believe it’s a rock-solid way to lean into God’s will in our life.
God is love. So if we follow the prescription for love given in 1 Corinthians chapter 13, we can’t go wrong. If every action we take or decision we make in life is taken or made out of love and with great love, then we’re good.
We simply leave the rest up to God. And that, my friend, is called sitting in trust.
In a recent conversation with the Little With Great Love team, Lisa Martinez (founder) shared a conversation she had with her spiritual director where he asked her, “Lisa, do you know what it means to be meeked?”
I’ve got half a smile on my face right now, because I bet when you read that line, your eyebrows wrinkled, and you thought, “Meeked?” Because everyone who hears this story (including myself) pretty much has that reaction.
He went on to explain that in ancient Greece, the Greek army would find the wildest horses in the mountains and bring them in for training. They didn’t want to break their spirit because they were one of the greatest tools in battle and needed to have that wild courageous spirit on the front lines, so they worked with the horses over time to “meek” them.
By the time they were fully meeked, they would respond to every nudge of the master. He nudged left, they went left. He nudged right, they went right.
I love that visual, especially when combined with Matthew 5:5, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”
When we have that complete trust in God and respond to every nudge of the Holy Spirit, we will have everything we need to endure in every situation He calls us to. As we lean into trust, when He whispers, right, we’ll go right. When He whispers left, we’ll go left. When He whispers, “Keep on going,” we’ll keep on going.
I’ve found myself in the quiet moments praying, “Meek me, Lord. Open my heart so I may respond to every nudge. Your will, not mine.”
Imagine how much easier it is to respond to the call God has on our lives when we’re living in this state of meekness. His response to us is–we shall inherit the earth. That’s a pretty awesome promise and one that certainly carries with it the promise that He will help us to do hard things.
Questions for Your Journal:
Have I been meeked? If not, what steps do I need to take towards becoming meek?
Do I trust that God will lead when I make that act of surrender? Do I trust that if He led me here, He’d give me the grace to get me through?
Why or why not?
Meek me, Lord. Open my heart so I may respond to every nudge. Your will, not mine. Jesus, I trust in you.
We Were Not Meant to Walk Alone
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”Hebrews 10:24
When we find ourselves struggling, feeling tired or weak, but we have our why, the amazing thing about God is that when we’re at our whits end, He often places people around us who encourage us and remind us of His strength.
Maybe we’ve reached a point in our race where we remember why we started, but our legs are starting to hurt, and we just want to stop. It’s often those people on the sidelines cheering us on that help us get our second wind and keep moving forward.
When we’re doing our best to get through the hard–to change, to grow, or to get to the other side of suffering–it’s so important to surround ourselves with people who remind us of how strong we are and encourage us to get back up and try again. We need to have someone in our corner who will help us keep our eye on the big goal, which in the end, is ALWAYS Christ.
Think about the saints. How many saints had a spiritual director leading and encouraging them to dig deeper, love harder, sacrifice more?
Just like Rocky had his Mickey and St. Faustina had her Father Sopocko, we, too, need people in our corner encouraging us to dig deep and keep on going when we simply want to quit.
It’s always important to take a good look at the people we surround ourselves with on a regular basis, especially the oneswe allow to speak into our lives. Do they encourage us to keep fighting the good fight?
Sometimes when we’re trying to heal or change or decide to do something different, we need to consider making some changes. Perhaps we need to distance ourselves from negative people that consistently leave us feeling discouraged or pray for God to bring new and uplifting friends and mentors into our lives.
If you’re struggling and you feel alone, ask God to bring someone into your life who can be a voice of encouragement and a voice of truth.
Questions for Your Journal:
Who do I spend the most time with? Are they encouraging me on my path towards holiness?
When I’m struggling to stick with goals that God has placed on my heart, how do they respond? Do they encourage me to keep working towards them?
What friends or mentors can I turn to when I need to have truth spoken into my life and may need an extra push?
Lead me, Lord. Draw me into relationships where we can encourage each other in following Your most holy will.
Tapping Into That Strength
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”Philippians 4:13
When we’re about to tackle something difficult, or we’re half-way up the mountain, and we just want to turn around, we often need to rely on pure grace to get us through.
Sometimes the difficult thing we’re doing isn’t something we’re accomplishing, but it’s healing and growth that God is walking us through. From my own experience of sitting in the crushing, to walking with many other women going through their own crushing process, I get it…and you’re most certainly not alone.
We hurt. We’ve been through the wringer, and now we’re sitting–perhaps in an adoration chapel, perhaps in the quiet of our own home. We have nothing left. We’re tired, exhausted, cried out, feeling the “I quit…I’m done…” and that we lack the strength to take another step.
Regardless of the situation, I’ve found that 100% of the time, when we lean into Christ and accept another step with His cross, we’re fueled on. We can go a little further, dig a little deeper.
Often one of the hardest things we can do is to simply sit in God’s will. To not make things happen. To not have control over what happens next. To simply sit and trust. It’s in these moments that I’ve felt the closest to Christ. Pure abandonment and surrender. I can do nothing, it’s all up to Him. He takes the next move.
Oh, how beautiful our God is. How great He is. The way He shows up when we need it the most. He loves. He defends. He fuels. He fills. He gives us EVERYTHING we need to make it through.
My friend, nothing is hard once we abandon ourselves to complete trust. We know that He will give us the strength to do anything He calls us to do,whether that’s living a mundane day-to-day life, going after a big goal, suffering through an illness or health issue, or answering the call to martyrdom. We have nothing to fear.
Questions for Your Journal:
When I’m in the midst of the hard, what do I struggle with the most?
Take a moment, close your eyes, place yourself in that situation and finish one of these sentences. “I can’t do it because…I can’t go on because…It’s too hard because…I want to quit because…”
When we’re honest with ourselves, we can take a good look at what we’re battling. So, next, I want you to take a minute, respond to that sentence, and encourage yourself, knowing that Christ will give you everything you need to make it through.
My Jesus, give me strength. Through You, I can do all things.
My friend, there was a day when I’d lead challenges and give classes on all the things people had to do in order to tap into their strength and realize that they can do hard things and achieve their dreams.
The truth is, yes, we can follow all the personal development steps to reach dreams and hit goals, but without keeping Christ at the center, it’s easy to become distracted and be fueled by something other than God. I’ve been there.
It wasn’t that I didn’t stay close to Christ, because I did have a relationship with Him, but not as I do now. I got distracted by shiny objects and often forgot the heart of what Christ was calling me to. I fell hard off that pedestal, and boy, did it hurt.
In the past few years, God has taken everything I had learned and infused it even more with His light. Without Him, we are nothing. Without love being at the root of everything we do, it is all for nought.
I just want to encourage you. Seek to understand what it is God is truly calling you to. If this hard thing you’re going through or doing is really in line with His plan, keep Him at the center. Let it always be rooted in love and TRUST, and know that He will 100% lead the way.
And then whatever it is that God has placed on your heart, know that we CAN do hard things. With His grace, we can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens us.
He gives us the strength to endure anything He calls us to walk through. When we’re in the midst of the hard and the struggle, He’ll send out His Spirit to empower us with perseverance to help move through the tired; courage to push us through the hard; strength to help us keep getting back up; and patience to help see us through it all.
Lean in to the hard, my friend. In Him, you’ve got this.
In His love,
Jesu, ufam tobie.
Jesus, I trust in you.