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!
My too hard is my husbands ex-wife and the ill willed, selfish , mothering of my 2 step sons mother. I as a mother of my 19yr old son can not wrap my head around how a mother can do some of the things she does. I find myself praying for her all the time and sharing with the boys when they talk to me telling them to pray for their mom also. I know that praying is what i need to do but when i hear things and have to deal with things in the moment from her bad judgement and neglect I find myself far from praying and losing it. I get so angry and hurt I can literally feel my chest hurting. I know i need to stop trying to figure out why she doesnt put her kids before alot of other things and does some of the crazy things she does. This is my “too hard” area. Thanks for your prayer on this Nicole. I am so blessed to have Faith church which has been apart of taking me to the next level in my faith walk. I love you all
She may not be the mother you wish she was, but the boys have you! You have the opportunity to pour extra love into their lives and help keep them on the right track.
God must really love them to give them you in their life to help fill the gap 🙂
I too have struggled with this weight issue and depression. I’m not sure what came first. Also I am so restless always spinning my wheels and going no where. I don’t have children and I always wanted them and thought this would be my anchor. I struggle with God and feeling him in a real way.
Thank You Nicole, any prayers will be appreciated.
Are you connected with a church? Getting involved may help you by surrounding you with christian friends (hopefully mature christians) that you can develop relationship with and can help mentor and disciple in close proximity in your relationship with God.
Don’t stop pursuing Him. He says to seek Him and He will be found. And when you find Him, there is NOTHING like it!
Unwavering faith when it comes to my moms battle with cancer. Focusing on what God said he can and will do and not waivering because of evidence I see that the battle with cancer is still present.
Kristina, I will be praying for your mom. You are a blessing to the kingdom of God!
I truly enjoy your messages. Thank you for taking time out of your day to share yourself with us.
I have been struggling with some things in my life and many times I have wanted to talk to you at church but never felt comfortable doing so. You asked in your email to tell you what is hard for us. Well…What is hard for me…my marriage and I struggle with fear. I want out of my marriage but the fear of ruining my kids lives scares me. I also worry about how I will manage finacially. I was a single Mom at 20 for ten years and I did a good job taking care of my oldest son. I know I can do it but I’m not independent anymore. If anything, I am co-dependent. My husband and I have been together for 13 years, married 8 years. 13 years ago, we dated, two months later I found out I was pregnant. We stayed together because of our daughter. Sadly….I knew we were not right for each other but it was too late after I found out about my pregnancy. He said he would stand by me and he has. My parents didn’t want me to raise another child alone so I stayed with him putting aside knowing we didn’t connect the way I knew we should . My husband is a good man, a hard working man but we just don’t connect on a level that I need. He does not nurture me emotionally or intectually. I feel empty. His presence sucks the life out of me. I have no energy, no desire to do anything. I have talked to him so many times about how I feel. He really doesn’t get it. He’s happy. We have tried counseling twice but he never applied himself to it. He doesn’t think he needs it. He does not communicate his feelings well at all. He is very passive.
I keep praying to God to show me and guide me to do what is right for us all. My kids see my unhappiness. I started coming to Faith Church many months ago and I love being there. I wish I could hang out in church every day all day. I’m ashamed of my situation because I know there are many woman who would think me a fool to be unhappy. I have a nice home, a hardworking man, he’s good looking…what do I have to complain about. ??
I often think I am the problem. I am adopted. I found out when I was 15 by a neighbor. My adoption wasn’t something I was allowed to talk about. My Mom told me about it (what she had to) and then we were not to discuss it again. Well my parents died 10 years ago, a year apart and since then I have been struggling who I am, where I fit in. My adoption came up on paperwork and nasty things were said by my siblings and other family memebers regarding the estate whether I should get anything etc. My parents were my connection to the family. My siblings are all being nasty to me because they just don’t understand why my adoption is a problem. I have always felt something missing in me. I would say when I found out at 15 the once happy, secure and confident girl was changed to a untrusting, unworthy and unloved girl. I struggle with – if people really love me. I have had counseling a couple of times. I went through a depression in 1997. I will never allow that to happen again. So when I get down I read the Bible, I listen to preachers online, I listen to Pastor David and you. I listen to Joy FM. I am doing everything I can to bring joy into my life and to find my direction and purpose and guidance.
I want to go back to school but I don’t have the support from my husband. He doesn’t say I can’t but he doesn’t encourage me at all. He is more concerned about the money. He isn’t attentive enough and involved enough with the kids for me to take time for myself to go back to school. I don’t want my kids to suffer because of me.
I know my kids see my unhappiness. Especially my daughter. When she was 5 she told me that her Dad and I should divorce. I know kids see so clearly what is going on. My parents fought my entire childhood. They had the same identical relationship that I have with my husband. I’ve come a long way since then. I worked on patterns I learned from my parents and have the awareness to be a different parent for my kids.
I know what I need to do but the FEAR stops me.
I’m afraid of being alone. I will not have anyone’s support to help me through a divorce and my siblings side my with my husband. I will be the fool.
I have always had a relationship with God since I was a little girl. He helped me raise my son. He worked in my life so many times when I thought things were impossible he showed me a way.
How do I get the strength to do what I need to do? I’m so afraid I will regret getting a divorce but I don’t see our relationship getting any better.
I have tried and tried to accept my husband as he is but I need more. I want more. My husband deserves to be with someone who gets him, who connects with him and brings out the best in him just as I do.
Any advice or words of wisdom for me?
Thank you so much.
I hope this doesn’t post for everyone to see.
There are two books I think may help you. One is God Never Wastes a Hurt by Jim Reeve and the other is His Needs Her Needs by William Harley. These may help you before making any decisions that alter your whole family. I will be praying for you.
My 2 “Too Hard” areas of life:
1. Eating less/Eating right/Exercising–especially when I’m a Crossfit coach
2. Getting and staying organized
What an honest admission. Two things most all of us struggle with doing right ALL the time.
With God, focus and discipline you can take this to the next level! The blog series starting now is actually on getting to the next level in life through pursuing Excellence. I look forward to your comments!
I picked up smoking cigarettes again after the Lord delivered me from them years ago.. I know I need to stop but my flesh does not want to.
Another area, it is hard for me to trust God for finances when I feel like I’m always messing up.
God Bless you
Connie, God can help you stop again! You did it before, you can do it again. It might be hard, but it can save and lengthen your life. You can do this girl!!!!
Right now I’m in the middle of a challenge to start the next chapter! Taking the bold step out and do what God has put on my heart to do and start my own business! This is to be for additional income not necessarily my only income at this time! I find it hard to believe in myself and my God given strengths to take this step. But I’m taking baby steps right now to move in that obedience!
Debbie – Listen for every direction and walk in Godly wisdom and counsel. You have a great support system around you to pray and counsel with you!
It’s hard loving my ex-husband, when every thing he does is an attempt to “buy” our daughter’s affection. I don’t have a lot of money now to spoil her, but I try with the intangibles, more so than the material things. I feel like this is a competition to see who she chooses. It’s a difficult pill to swallow. I don’t put the vibe out there that money buys happiness, I pray over her before she leaves for time with him, so that she knows I love her just the way she is.
What you are doing is smart. And speaking of smart, kids are smarter than we think. They see through A LOT.
With you showing your daughter that you love her, she KNOWS it. Don’t worry! What a great mom you are!
I am a member to your church, haven’t been for awhile. I do follow you and Pastor Dave on TV and websites, to get the word of God from you both. I pray all the time that my job will allow me to return to church, I work for a very stubborn person to give me the schedule I need to return. Even while at work as a bartender, I turn the TV onto see Pastor on Friday and Saturday to receive the word, I also have it on so others who may need to hear the word of God hear this. I have had people thank me. So until my boss gets the word this is what I do and says I can’t I will keep on keeping on.
I found a way to get around the hard stuff for the moment. I believe that is what God wants us to do receive in the moment when we need it most. It becomes easier each and everytime you listen to Gods word.
I sincerely want to thank you for all you both giving and teaching Gods word.
I miss you! I was wondering how you were! I am so glad we are able to keep in contact via tv and internet. We also have a Saturday night, Sunday night and Tuesday night service if that helps. I look forward to seeing you again!
Your message hit home with me. My “hard thing” is eating healthy and getting fit. This is something I want but find it very hard to do and then I always feel bad when I fail.
We ALL feel bad when we eat too much or don’t exercise enough – which is A LOT!!! You are not alone!!!!!
Don’t let it stop you. Have a bad day? Start over tomorrow and don’t let one bad day turn into two.
Success is making MORE right decisions than wrong decisions. Not making ALL right decisions. Just keep making some right ones!
I have faith in you.
Hi Pastor Nicole,
This hit my spirit when I read it this morning . Making God a prority in my life has become hard to the point I question my love for God . When I wake I feel the need to start chasing the day hoping God will just follow . I miss my alone time with God seeking his face and reading his word. I know I am nothing without God and miserable . I don’t understand myself . Next is paying tithes . I am very embarressed to write this but I am going to do anyway.I wish I would just pay my tithes consistently . I can do it for a month or so and then I lose focus and I am ask for forgivenss . It is not fair to the church or to you and Pastor Dave and most of all God. Needless to say I am feeling like scum right now .I miss relationship with God , thanks for praying and just being who you are .
We have heard that consistency is the key to the break through – but WHY IS IT SO HARD??? Right? You are struggling in a place that is the same as most of the rest of us. Don’t get discouraged, BUT don’t let that give you permission to quit.
READ everyday, maybe while you eat lunch? Make your tithes your first check. I can’t wait to see what God is doing in your life!
Hi Pastor Nicole,
I just started attending your church a couple of weeks ago and I really like it. I think you and Pastor David are awesome! That hard thing that I’m dealing with is letting go of a relationship that I’ve been in for almost four years. It’s not a physically abusive relationship but I feel as though the lord is telling me to get out of it because he is not the one for me. He is very jealous. He says that I make him jealous by the way I act sometimes. (I am a very private person) We argue all the time and I am already dealing with alot as it is trying to take care of my parents by myself (mom has alzheimers and father has parkinsons) plus go to school (which I havent done since 1992) I do love this man being that we have been together for almost 4 years but deep down I feel like the lord is urging me to let it go. I dont want to be alone.. Can you please keep me in your prayers? Thank you and God Bless you!
Katrina – I will certainly pray for you! We all want God’s will. It is ALWAYS for more and NEVER for less in our life. Follow Him and HIs leadings and you will be making all the right decisions for your life.
Father, Lead Katrina in the way she should go in this relationship. You know the outcomes of her life based on the decisions she makes and you have a plan for her life according to Jer 29:11. Help her to incline her ear and have the courage to follow you where ever you lead in Jesus name
I walked away from a 23 yr abusive relationship with a 14 yr oldwho now has Jesus in his hveart. I would like to move us up from Miami to a new place. Need a job and an apt.and a cburch. I feel God wanyts
e to share my testimony with other abused persons. We’re fully bili
gual and looking for a new chance.God is good! awsometerry@liv
Terryy – I believe that God will lead you to the right place, the right job and the right church! God, lead and direct Terry with your wisdom and grace in Jesus name!
In the meantime, if you want to email our en espanol pastor, his email is email@example.com. He can pray with you and may be able to help connect you.
Be blessed Terry!