Last time I was on vacation, I was walking on the beach and God said,
“Suck in your stomach and pinch a penny with your backside!”
I said, “God! That’s hard!”
Now before I tell you how God responded, let me tell you something about me.
In Wal-mart, I can pinch a penny with my fingers — no problemo! Since I grew up poor, pinching pennies in my budget is second nature to me. I can pinch dimes, quarters, and even dollars prettily easily, but doing it with my behind is much more difficult for me.
Sucking it in and holding everything where it ought to be–that can only last a few seconds before everything starts to creep back out to “comfortable and easy.”
God was trying to make a point to me that day on the beach. You see, I had lived a hard knock life.
- I was given up by my dad before birth.
- I was molested as a kid. I grew up poor.
- I became a teenage mom.
- I was ridiculed through school.
- I married an abusive drug addict.
There was something God wanted to get to me that day, and I’m pretty sure it was not just a firmer fanny.
What’s More Difficult?
You see, when I said, “God! That’s hard!” He responded by asking, “What’s harder? Sucking it in and working it? Or walking around loathing your body all the time? What’s harder? Eating a little less or trying to work it off?”
Sounds pretty specific to the moment, right? You see, God is concerned about my well being. He wants me to like myself and my shape (which is something that I do not really like). In that moment on the beach, He wanted to get deep with me.
It’s difficult to get excited when God asks you to do the hard thing. It’s not like, “Yippee… we’re talking about overcoming!” Or… “Yeah we are talking about victory in Jesus!” No, it’s about doing the hard thing… Lucky me! But really… there’s a twist.
Sometimes we think the “hard thing” is the thing that we have to do now.
- Going on a diet right now… hard.
- Going on a diet tomorrow….not so hard.
- Making time to study and pray today… hard.
- Making time to study and pray starting tomorrow… doable.
- Letting someone hit you with a cheap shot and not smacking them back with another ignorant comment… hard.
- Thinking about someone hitting you with an ignorant comment and thinking about walking in love (when and if it happens)… easy.
You see, sometimes our flesh introduces time frames in order to lighten the difficulty of the situation, but short term pain produces long term success.
Okay ladies, let’s be honest. Let’s say we are in a house where a bunch of women live together. In our prayer time, God nudges us to do the hard thing and give love to someone that has been bugging the fire out of us. But as soon as we get around them and they begin to get under our skin, our heart gets hard to God and then suddenly, we snap (even though God dealt with us about this very person earlier).
Something similar happened to Pharaoh with Moses and the Israelites. You see, when conditions are just right, even an evil man can soften and want to do the right thing.
When we’re in In His presence (in worship or in prayer), our inhibitions and insecurities are far from us. In these times, it’s easy to soften and want to do what God wants done.
But when we leave our prayer time, when we leave the church, when we leave a time of worship, when we’re back in the midst of real people with real problems – that’s when it gets really hard.
What’s Hard for You?
Next time, we’re going to dig into the story of Moses and Pharaoh. We’ll learn how we can apply their lessons to our lives right now… to help us love our enemies, eat correctly, put down those things that are doing harm to our our bodies, and to help us forgive and love others.
In between now and then, I’d like to invite you to take a few moments and share with me one or two areas that are just “too hard” for you. I want to pray over these areas for you and with you, and I ask everyone reading this right now to do the same.
See you next time!