Today I watched as our eight year old son Isaac swam 25 metres of the pool at his swimming lesson. A week ago, after a winters break from lessons he was stressed and lacking confidence to even remember how to swim 5 metres, let alone the required 25 metres to pass his swimming level. As he clung nervously to the lane ropes doubting his ability to not drown in the big pool we had a discussion about how important it is to do hard things, and for him to trust what he had learnt and challenge himself to do something that he was finding difficult. As a result of doing the hard thing Isaac has now overcome his fear and feelings of anxiety, and is doing what he at first thought he couldn’t.
Hard things are those pursuits or necessary things that push us past our comfortability and help us to grow and become all that God has made us to be. Hard things can be downright scary, feel overwheming and stretch us to the point of being far from comfortable. Yet this is the place we can discover a renewed awareness of God’s presence, strength from His indwelling power and the motivation to make the decision to face our fears and do it anyway. The very place where we feel we have run out of our strength is the place where we realise God is there to uphold us.
When we face and do hard things we also break through fear and anxiety and find out what we are really capable of, and where and how we can grow and develop in the future. There is no failure in trying, only in quitting or choosing to do nothing at all.
Facing and having to do hard things isn’t necessarily bad, and it’s how we grow muscles both physically, emotionally and spiritually. We are so much more capable than we give ourselves and the God who created us credit for. Plus when we know and have a relationship with Jesus we have resurrection power dwelling on the inside of us, and the one who says, “my grace (supernatural ability) is enough for you”, is backing us all the way.
“The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.” (Romans 8:11)
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
As Isaac stood grinning today after swimming I asked him what had changed so that he was now able to swim so far, when only a few days ago he couldn’t and he said, “I decided I was going to try to swim the whole pool today. I kept on praying, “Jesus please give me strength and help me, and then I just kept swimming”.
Today don’t be afraid of attempting something that takes you out of your comfort zone or looks hard. Pray and ask God if this is something He wants for you, read His Word on it to build your faith and then go for it. Because doing harder things is also part of the route to recovery from lifes more challenging moments and disappointments, and in pushing through them we realise we don’t have to remain under circumstances, failure, loss or anything else life may have thrown at us. And as Isaac and Dory from “Nemo” say, “You’ve gotta get out there and just keep swimming!
“For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13)
Prayer: Lord thank you that you help me to do hard things, and that your grace is sufficient for me. That when I am weak you are strong in me, and you help me to be all that I was created to be. In Jesus name Amen.