The Joy of Hard Work

For the first time in my life I’m out running with professional runners. Yes, most of them are at a different level than myself. They are running times that I’m still dreaming of, but hey at least now I’m dreaming of them. It’s crazy. But you know what’s so funny, the more pros or elites I meet the more I realize how down to earth they are and how they are just as human as me. They have quirks, they breathe hard and spit during workouts, they get tired and sweaty just like you and me. They are special because they can run super fast, but they aren’t super human like most of us think it requires to successful. But I will tell you something. They work stinking HARD.

I’m realizing so much of life requires a lot of hard work. In today’s culture so many of us just want instant success. HA! Our parents and grandparents must just want to laugh sometimes. When we’re immediately out of college we think we should be able to afford a house. Most of the generations above us waited YEARS before they bought their first house. And you better believe they had to work dang hard for it. So then we translate it into other areas of our lives and say I should be making 6 figures a year into working, I should have my dream job right away, it’s only going to take a couple of months to get my business really rolling, right?

BAHAHAHA!

Sorry, not sorry.

This has been me. It often still is, but when I stop and think about it, it’s ridiculous. It takes YEARS sometimes DECADES of hard work. Often that work doesn’t get us that far immediately.

Okay, so put it into focus. Jesus was 30….3-0 when he started his ministry. Literally the most important man to walk this earth didn’t start “shining until he was THIRTY!”

Also, let’s talk about Moses here for a second, he was like what 100? And Elizabeth was like 200 when she had her baby boy? Okay, a little dramatic there, but you get the point.

If you are 30 or younger, we need to say HOLD UP! GROW UP! Or if you’re a teenager, just enjoy your life! You won’t get that time back or the lack of responsibility ever again, so embrace it.

But to us millennials who think things should just fall in our laps, that hard days are only for wimps, we need to wake the hell up. Life takes work. It takes a lot of discipline and you know what, a whole lot of pruning. Yup. You got some stuff you need to work on.

Yes, I do too. I know.

But if we don’t take the time to recognize that, we’re going to be so focused on the future and miss the good that’s right in front of us. Like the times Rusty and I have to get creative because we know we don’t need to spend money. So instead of going out, we play charades by ourselves and almost end up peeing our pants because we’re laughing so hard. Or the sweet moments we get to lay in bed because we don’t have to wake up to take care of our kid yet. Or the fact we have to sell our crapping couch to get a new one that’s even cheaper. Or just the simple moments that God has blessed us with that mean have to work hard for what we want, like our time away. I was watching an episode of Boy Meets World. Topanga and Cory were just married and looking for a place to live. Cory’s parents would NOT help them out financially. Cory and Topanga were pissed. But then there was this moment. They got so fed up with they’re crappy, filthy, not clean running water apartment and fixed the sink themselves. They had clear running water and they were so pumped. They went back to his parents and they were so PROUD. His dad responded by saying “I never wanted you to miss out on that feeling, those tough, yet sweet moments.” Man, what a great depiction. I wish that ideology was around more today.

Now gifts are amazing. Being part of a church plant I’ve learned humility and what it takes to receive, but there’s something so beautiful when you take ownership. When you don’t let life take control of you or you don’t let your circumstances define you. Instead you choose to embrace them and learn from them. Success isn’t always about winning or losing. Sometimes it’s realizing how much you’ve grown and learned. Sometimes it’s when you learn you don’t need that paycheck or that affirmation to give you worth. Sometimes it’s the beauty of knowing what you’re doing is loving your God or your neighbor. Sometimes it means working hard when no one else tells you good job or sees what you put in.

There are rewards in hard work friends, rewards that handouts can never give us. And honestly most of life requires a lot of hard work and pain. When I ran my first threshold run here in Arizona, I hurt the last 3 miles. I wanted to be done. Ryan reminded me, you just can’t skip over the hard painful days. It sucks, often we wish we could, but life doesn’t work that way. It’s the hard days that make the good days so good. So let’s celebrate hard, let’s celebrate the fact that we get to enjoy success in ways we don’t expect. Let’s be a generation that stops seeking easy, and starts working hard. Let’s join with others and make an impact because we can. Consistency is key friends. Consistency takes work.

Jo ButlerComment