I remember being young, six or seven maybe, and trying to learn to ride a bike without training wheels. I stared down the expanse of our Wisconsin driveway, the bike wobbling below me, and I remember my heart banging in my chest.
“This is too hard,” I said to my dad as he stood by my side, ready to run the length of the rod before us holding onto my seat. He smiled and gave me a wink.
“Hard is okay,” he said. “You’ve just got to try.”
Hard is okay.
Doubt crept in, softly when I wasn’t even aware it was happening. Suddenly, those obstacles that I once considered mere challenges seemed more like red flags.
“It’s too hard!” my brain screamed. “You’re a grown up now! Be reasonable! If it’s difficult it must be wrong!”
On and on the cycle went until I found myself almost paralyzed with fear. Suddenly any situation that felt too difficult, from moving to finding a new job to having more children to trying to publish a book in an oversaturated market, felt like a warning to stop.
And the root of this struggle was a desire to remain safe.
I feared making the wrong decision because I didn’t want to put my family in jeopardy. I took opposition to some of the big decisions in life as some sort of sign that I was making the wrong choice.
Another rejection of my proposal? Maybe I’m not supposed to do this.
People think I’m crazy to discuss adoption? Maybe it’s the wrong choice for our family.
My husband taking that job means a cross country move, which means saying goodbye to people we love dearly? Maybe it’s a bad idea.
On and on, the doubts rolled over me like waves on a windy day. I’d come up for air and take in the sight of the blue sky above, gulping in a few deep breaths for just a few moments before I’d get hit with another wave of doubt.
Until I decided to stop fighting.
I got up early one morning last year and I sat on my back porch, nursing a cup of coffee and thinking over the last five years of decisions, and something lovely dawned on me.
Every decision we made had turned out well.
Some of them were painful, yes. A cross country move hurt for a very long time. It took two years to stop questioning whether we had made the right choice. But ultimately we have made some of the dearest relationships in our new town, and I cannot imagine having gone through life without knowing these people.
A terminated adoption left us reeling, my heart torn and seemingly irreparable for a time. But without that experience, we never would have had our fourth child, the little girl with gigantic princess eyes and a personality as big as the sky.
All those rejections of my book proposal felt like a stab to the heart, but they only made the “Yes” from a publisher sweeter. And that book, the one that so many passed on, is now up for two Christy Awards. It just needed to right time to make its way into the world.
And so as I sat on my porch and sipped softly, I watched the sun peek up over the tree line in our backyard, and I knew that all the hard times were really just gifts.Hard doesn't mean wrong. Hard just means hard.Click To Tweet
Every painful moment led to something sweet.
Are you walking through something difficult right now? Are you facing a decision that feels overwhelming, or looking opposition in the eye and wondering if you made a bad choice? Can I give you this encouragement?
Hard doesn’t mean wrong. Hard just means hard.
Sometimes those difficult moments in life are meant to refine us, to shape and mold us as we move through life.
Sometimes those difficult moments are meant to stop us, to keep us from making a bad choice or protect us from unforeseen danger.
Sometimes those hard moments in life lead us directly into a painful time so that we can come out stronger and wiser.
And sometimes the hard moments are simply a gift. On the other side is something we never would have dreamed or expected, and we never would have known if we weren’t willing to walk the hard path.
Life isn’t easy. It’s hard and it’s painful, and it is filled with options and decisions that can feel overwhelming.
But hard doesn’t mean wrong. Hard just means hard.
Are you facing a hard decision or circumstance today? Can you see the gift in the middle of your dilemma?