I Do Hard Things
This is what I know to be true, how I handle my hard thing will determine my life and my death. What I mean is that if I do nothing and continue to bang my head against a situation that feels like an immovable wall in my path, my life will feel miserable, overwhelming, and heavy. I will possibly have a regret at the end of my life, at my death, that I could have done more. I do believe the number of my days have already been determined, but I choose if I live those days laughing or crying. No one leaves this world without a scar or two. Life is hard. Anyone tells you different, ask them to open up their inner box labeled denial.
When you are faced with emotional difficulty, it is often helpful to turn to something physically difficult to remind yourself you can control some hard things. For example, I started running and I detest running. I can tell you this, when my lungs are on fire, I speak to the heat and it goes something like this, "Hard thing, you will not take me out. I do hard things, every step is further than the day before, I am a Warrior." Warrior, I love that word. I did cross fit twice last week, the instructor encouraged me, "Come on Warrior, you can do this." I smile now even thinking about it, me a Warrior flipping tires. I can be a Warrior in all areas of my life by not giving up. Keep flipping the options I have, until I land on the one that makes the change in me, not anyone else. I can't control anyone else. (Go back and reread that last sentence, even in slow motion.) Flipping tires is not easy. Choosing to try again is not easy. I noticed I was allowed to pick the tire of my choice, if I wanted easy I chose light, if I wanted heavy I chose the big tractor tire. When I chose light, my muscles didn't feel a thing. Choosing heavy, made me sweat. I had a change in my physically body. It works the same emotionally. If I want growth, I must do hard things. Easy gets me no where, keeps me stagnant wondering why my body (life) isn't getting better.
When I run every bit of me hurts physically and sometimes emotionally. Three weeks ago I could barely run 1/2 a mile. Today I ran 4 miles. Pretty impressed with myself actually. I have a life history of doing many emotionally and physically hard things, some small and some have felt like giants. You see, I was a college swimmer. Only 1 year, but hey, I swam the mile and my college was paid for, I could not swim the mile straight today without gasping for air or becoming light headed after the 4th flip turn. Google it, swimming a mile is 66 laps of pure athletic endurance. This is my reality of my 18 year old self. Back to running... with my lungs screaming and my legs feeling like cylinder blocks it would be so easy to listen to the small whisper, "You can quit hurting yourself and walk the rest of the way. Enjoy the outdoors, sit down and rest." Today, I again, reminded myself of many hard things I have survived. I allowed my mind to wander over my years like a movie. Then an interesting thought came into my head, I have never been alone in the hard. Throughout almost every hard thing, my knees at some point hit the floor and I laid it all out there for the One who has done the hardest of all, gave His life for mine, to carry the weight of my hard situation. Also, I have a history of telling someone I trust about the hard thing in my life. I need support. It feels easier with another warrior cheering me on, or handing me Kleenex.
I am learning that the more hard things I make it through, the stronger I become. A wonderful byproduct is I have the "muscle" in me to walk with other people as they also do hard things. It is a wonderful gift I receive, my medal at the end of a race, a treasure. Check yourself, if you have endured suffering and there is history of others coming to you to share their own suffering, then count it a joy. Your wounds have value. Take your pain and turn it into a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen with, soft words to encourage, a tear to roll down. Share your story and watch what happens, you will be surrounded by warriors too. Where do you go when hard hits? Find a warrior, they will show you the way, just look for the scars. Good time to listen to some music https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DILOtmt9nww
Even today as I was running and my thoughts were reminding me of where I need to go and find rest, the hope began to trickle in. I have several hard decisions in front of me, I do not know what will happen, but doing the right hard thing is always best. I have done everything I can do to minimize the pain in my life and those around me. I can do no more. I surrender and let go to the One who is in control of my very breath. I chose to flip the option that never fails, is neither light nor heavy, it is just right. The greatest Warrior of all will fight for me.
Exodus 15:3 (NIV)
The LORD is a warrior; the LORD is his name.
I hope in some small way this will encourage you to keep moving forward, one foot in front of the other.
Elizabeth Havens, LMFT