Finding Freedom: Lean Into the Hard

Every time I read quotes like, "Live your passion and you will never work a day in your life," or "Discover what you were born to do and you will always be happy," I have a knee jerk type of reaction. It usually involves me rolling my eyes and saying insightful things like, "Baloney."

The truth is that it is has taken me quite some time to get to a place of freedom and rejection of this mentality. My reaction used to be both guilt that I didn't live my passion as well as jealousy of those who did. And just in case you didn't know this already, neither guilt or jealousy are healthy emotions to live with.

I realize I am saying something rather counter-cultural to today's mindset, but I just find this way of thinking very limiting and unrealistic.  Life is full of the mundane, routine, non-passion-inspiring moments and activities. Do I have to fell "born to do" laundry in order to do it? Or am I just doomed to do it and be unhappy about it?

There is also an element of this philosophy that ignores the fact that God might very well call us to do something really hard.

His calling in our lives may or may not be in our area of passion. He might give us a job for which we are not naturally gifted. He may very well want to show Himself strong in our weaknesses.

Look at Moses. He was a man with a speech impediment who was called to speak to the mightiest ruler of the world. He lead people who were obstinate and who frustrated the tar out of him and it almost wore him out. He faced hunger, complaining, uncertainty, monotony, and danger with a people who questioned his authority. (Sounds like the life of every parent!) Leading the Isrealites for 40 years through a desert while trying to keep their focus on God was hard.

But he was living what God called him to do.

Look at Mary. She was a girl who was looking for the kind of life everyone else around her had- one with a husband and a family. But she had to face the unthinkable- a pregnancy out of wedlock which almost caused her to loose her betrothed. Then she had to raise a Son, who was the Son of God, which she must have felt totally unqualified to do. And then she was horrifically present at the moment He suffered and died. While being the mother of Christ must have contained unspeakable joys, every moment must have also been hard.

But she was living the life God had designed her for.

Look at Jeremiah. He was a man who, in order to follow the call of God, had to speak such unpopular words that he was beaten, put in stocks and imprisoned, thrown into a cistern, and was rejected by his own family.  He lived constantly with the tug-of-war of on the one side dreading giving the words the Lord had for him to say and on the other side the impossibility of not saying the words that were like a fire within him. (Jer. 20:8-9) To speak meant he would be reviled, but to not speak was inconceivable. His life was very, very hard.

But he was living the calling of God on his life.

And the point is? Just that if life is hard, and if you are not working in your sweet spot, and if your passion is on the back burner, and if being faithful means denying your desire.....that does not mean that you are in the wrong place.

Sometimes life is hard. Relationships are hard. Denying yourself is hard. Picking up your cross daily is hard. So lean into the hard. Don't assume that because something is hard, you are in the wrong place.

Find freedom in the midst of the hard by seeing Jesus beside you, in every crazy or mundane circumstance, showing Himself strong.

Life can be hard, but it may just be the exact life God has called you to and created you for.

What do you find hard? Is it what God called you to do? Lean. Into. It.