There are so many aspects of our lives we don’t get to choose and they can end up being very hard things. Our childhood and our height are just some examples. (I stopped growing at 12!) But, all joking aside, how many times do we sit down and think, “Yep that looks really hard. Sign me up!”? Many of the trials in our lives were not roads we knew we were committing to before it became clear we were being called to walk down them.
And yet, sometimes we do get to choose our hard things. Enrolling our children into a very academically rigorous school will present different challenges than the challenges we will face if we choose to homeschool or send them to a public school. As many older, wiser mamas have helped me to see, every option will be hard! Nothing in life will be completely streamlined, with zero challenges in it. (Except the decision to go for an iced coffee and dark chocolate in the afternoon… That’s always a no brainer.)
A committed marriage is choosing hard work over the long haul. Parents are choosing to love a child selflessly, even without knowing the depths of all that love will require. One could argue, the BIGGEST blessings in our lives are the ones that are the fruit of the hardest things we’ve chosen to do.
In thinking about a move, there were many hard things we knew we were choosing for our family. Our kids would be without grandparents and cousins and friends for the unforeseeable future. We would be taking a huge pay cut from the income my husband was making in California. We would be leaving our wonderful church and have to find another one where we could feel known in a place where we were completely unknown. We would have to find a schooling option that would work well for our family. We would have to, in a sense, build up from scratch. We had no guarantees that any of the hard things we were choosing would succeed and be what we wanted them to be. All we knew was that the hard things California was asking of us were not the hard things we wanted to choose anymore.
California asks its citizens to suffer for the “good” of everyone else. (You know, like socialism.) California says, “Give us your money and we’ll spend it on things we deem good. (We don’t really care if you agree with them or not, because you’re an un-evolved idiot.)” California says, “Small homes on tiny lots will suffice for what you need you nit wit (and by the way, why do you have so many kids anyway?)” California says, “We’ll educate your children and you stay out of it. (And if that means we offer sex reassignment surgery to your 10 year old without your consent and you have a problem with it, that’s because you’re an ignorant bigot.)” California says, “I don’t care if you worked years to get that job in the medical field. You’ll do whatever we say, or we’ll take it away from you in a heartbeat (and by the way we don’t care about those either.)”
Those hard things, just to name a few, were not hard things we were willing to endure long term. So, we exchanged them for other hard things… moving across the country and all of the changes that came along with it.
Every sane adult everywhere, whether or not they realize it, is choosing some hard thing.
Young men who choose not to work hard today are choosing the much harder result of being the most depressed demographic in society tomorrow.
Adults who choose to put their desires over the good of their children are choosing to have disconnected, painful relationships further down the road.
The teenager, not wanting to choose a hard thing called “self-control” will speed through the stop sign not realizing they are choosing the much harder result – a ticket, accident, or God forbid, the lifelong burden of knowing they injured or killed a pedestrian.
We all choose hard things. The question is what hard things should we choose?
What to Ask Yourself Before Saying Yes to a Hard Thing
If you’re wondering whether you ought to say yes to a hard thing, consider asking yourself these two questions:
1. Does saying yes to this hard thing protect children? (Our answer there should always be YES. And by the way, as Katy Faust and Stacy Manning so aptly wrote in their book you can check out in my post here: http://redstateramblings.com/hollywood-lies-paradise-lost/, adults do hard things for kids. They don’t ask kids to do hard things for them (yet another reason why requiring children to wear masks is both nonsensical and insanely selfish).
The second question to ask yourself is:
2. Are you hesitating to say yes to a hard thing because you’re afraid? An example would be you have a desire to feel better and get fit, but you’re scared of the lifestyle change required to work out and get your nutrition on track. The hard choice to be consistent in those realms would yield the result you’re wanting but you’re hesitant to say yes to the hard thing because you are scared it will just be too hard.
Here is the funny thing about hard things…. 9 times out of 10 our silly human brains waste time providing about 503 reasons why this hard thing will just be too hard instead of spending about 10% of that energy on actually doing the hard thing to see if it yields a good result. What if, instead of spending all of our energy avoiding the trauma we know we must ultimately go thru to receive the reward we’re looking for, we focused on joyfully and efficiently going thru the trauma to receive the reward?
Some people will say, “Ya, I hear you but how do I even know if I’m being motivated by fear?” Been there! I highly recommend you reach out to someone you respect and ask them for their input. The clarity and courage this can provide will be valuable to you both in this decision and in the many decisions you’ll face in years to come.
It is NOT a good idea to move solely because you are afraid of where California is heading. In my opinion, the people who have the most regret after a move will be the people who make fear their motivating decision maker. Because what is going to happen is you may go thru all the work of moving and then look at California and think, “Well, everything seems to be going the way it’s always gone. It’s not seeming to get any worse. Oh, no, why did I move?” So, fear cannot be your reason for leaving. You need to find a much better reason. You need to, in the words of my favorite trainer and one of my most treasured friends, find your why. (By the way, if fitness is one of the things you’re wanting to get squared away in your own life, you need to visit her here: https://fatlosslifestyleschool.com/fat-loss-lifestyle-school. To say she’s helped me through many hard things in life would basically be the understatement of the year.)
Finding the Why Behind Your Move
What are the things you want to give your family? Opportunity? Room to Run? Awesome church community? These are the things you need to nail down because they will keep you focused so that you can make your move with confidence and excitement.
For our family, we wanted to give our children and future grandchildren leaders who agree with us on basic principles of life. Like, male and female. Parental authority. The fact that God exists. We believe a host of problems are avoided when common sense is the foundation. The worldview of our decision makers affects every nook and cranny of society. (To read more about why it matters what our leaders believe, check out my post here: http://redstateramblings.com/conflicting-visions-thomas-sowell-saw-it-coming/.)
How exciting it has been each week to read about another piece of legislation or statement from our Governor that is actually consistent with our worldview! We have given our children the opportunity to be governed by leaders who do not hate us and our values. We could never say that in California.
Fear is a thief. When fear is the motivator behind your decisions, you will literally suck the joy out of the whole process and you will fail to see the goodness of God in providing for you.
Fear is immobilizing. So, practically speaking, it can’t even help you to make a good decision because you will be wasting untold amounts of energy on fretting instead of on actually doing something that can help your situation.
So, rather than being driven by fear, figure out the why behind your move. Talk with your spouse. Talk to a trusted friend. Pray a lot. If you have your why the actual doing is going to be much easier and you’re going to have a lot more fun.
We’re going to have to do hard things in life. What a privilege that for us Americans, we sometimes get to choose what we want those hard things to be. Figure out your why for doing a hard thing and that hard thing will yield more blessing than you even thought possible.