“One of the most important things to learn in order to become a successful adult is how to not run away from hard things.”
I found myself saying these words to one of my tutoring students this past Saturday morning after a discouraging session. I was internally pleading with him…begging him to hear and understand and apply my words.
How do you pass this wisdom on to a child?
How do you tell them with that special urgency that will cause them to listen?
How do you teach this to an adult who never learned this as a child?
I live in the drug and alcohol recovery “capital” of the nation. Meaning, people from all over the United States come to my city and the surrounding cities to get clean and sober…and hopefully stay that way.
In the year and a half we’ve been here, we’ve been friends with so many people, including many addicts…former and current. We’ve watched them move through treatment. We’ve watched them stay strong. We’ve watched them relapse…
One of the prevalent characteristics I’ve noticed is their inability to cope with hard things.
It could be anything…
a mean boss
a bad driver
The struggling addicts I’ve known always go for the immediate option.
The immediate release of yelling and cursing…
The instant gratification of a substance…
The right now fix of quitting their job…
The addicts who are doing well, are working through different approaches.
They’re learning delayed gratification…
They’re learning to stick it out through the rough seasons…
They’re learning to go to other people for support instead of turning to a substance…
But the more I see these characteristics in the culture around me, the more I’m seeing those same tendencies in myself. Because the things I find important I will work hard at, and the things that I deem less important or I can think of an easier way out, I choose not to work hard. I still run from the hard.
I rush to reconcile a conflict instead of working through the hard stuff.
I skim read the intellectual sections of a book or article.
I multitask instead of slowing my mind to work well on one thing.
I hurry through my time with Jesus instead of meditating on His Word.
And if I had to sit down and justify my reasoning for each of these habits I slip into, I could not do it…
Because my marriage is important and it is worth the hard work of true reconciliation and openness.
Because the deep and difficult parts of books are often the places I learn and am inspired the most from.
Because quality is almost always better than quantity.
Because what good is spending time in God’s Word if I refuse to enter into deep relationship with the God of the Bible.
So I’m amending my original statement…
“One of the most important things to learn in life is how to not run away from hard things.”
Instead of running, I’m learning to slow down even more.
Instead of finding the easy route, I’m learning to sit in the hard moments.
Instead of looking for quick fixes, I’m learning to take the long route.
It’s a journey. And there are many failures. And there is always more grace.
So join me…will you?
Let’s sit in the hard.
Let’s grown through the hard.
Let’s learn from the the hard.
Because often the hard things we do produce the best things in us.