The Easy Way

The Easy Way

I adore my three-year old. Jackson is hilarious, loving, and preciously protective of his siblings. He is still three, though, and doesn’t like going to bed.

He really doesn’t like being put to bed for the eighth time (per evening, and all of these times in the course of writing this post) and spontaneously appears around the house several hours after bedtime has commenced. I’m considering making a suit of pajamas out of Velcro and constructing special Velcro sheets to match: he is officially a night person.

I’ve just been feeling scattered; pulled in so many different directions.

Foster care and home visits. Court dates. Allergies. Three-year old discipline issues. Fibromyalgia. Volunteering. Sick kids. Deadlines. Field trips. Great job challenges. Exhaustion.

This isn’t really a list, but rather a whole bunch of differing responsibilities or pieces of my life that are interacting and competing to create the chaos that is what this life stage looks like. It’s nothing that can be checked off…

While some of it is really good, some of it is hard. Really hard. I hate court dates for foster care. To me, they are the epitome of tragedy; the symbol of a situation’s brokenness. They wear me out profoundly, even if they are necessary.

I find myself wishing that life was easier despite the incredible flip sides to these difficult coins of foster care and three-year olds. Just because something is incredible doesn’t mean that it is smooth.

Which is why I’ve had obedience on my heart lately. Between trying to teach obedience, be obedient myself it is has become evident how knowing God and scripture needs to change us. We can have all the head knowledge in the world, but if we aren’t willing to trust God and follow Him our relationship with God isn’t really going to go anywhere. I think our willingness to trust Him is a limiting factor that really determines how much our hearts are able to be shaped by Him.

It’s just that it is really hard. Really hard. We often think of obedience is a simple yes or no type of choice. Such a dichotomy isn’t really the reality though.

Jesus told a parable of two sons in Matthew 21:28-32. To paraphrase, the father asked something and one son said he would obey and didn’t. The other initially said “no”, but then went out and fulfilled his father’s request. Jesus’ point in this parable, told to the Pharisees (the esteemed religious teachers of the day) was that the initial and public response wasn’t the ultimate response. Obedience isn’t really obedience if we are doing it because other people are watching. Nor does a one time response mean that we can’t course correct.

Obedience isn’t easy because it is more than a one-time act. Faithfulness is the net-sum of obedience. It’s not always the showy, obvious, or even yes-I-should-do-this or no-I-shouldn’t kind of choice.

It’s the simple choice of putting one foot in front of the other in humble submission. It’s messy and there sometimes is no reward and, even more often, a greater cost. It’s painful and hard. It’s sometimes like slogging through the mud on a rainy day.

The first time I went to a court hearing it was pouring down rain. I made the mistake of wearing high heels and was soaked through as I walked from the downtown parking garage to the courthouse blocks away uphill. I sat for hours in case I was needed to update the court on my foster daughter’s health concerns… only to have the court reschedule the hearing for another day because of a legal concern.

And it’s okay.

Do I wish it was easier?

Yes. All. The. Time.

Would I trade if for the world?

Never.

Because God is our end and that is so very worth it.

I think if we ignore the difficult reality of obedience and the cost of following Christ it’s easy for us to become terribly discouraged when things inevitably grow harder. We do a disservice to anyone who is thinking about making a choice to follow Christ when we tell them how wonderful it is a neglect the trials. We set people up for failure or isolation if we really believe they should “just do what God says and everything will be fine.”

Because it won’t.

Sometimes things don’t end well. Serving God isn’t meant to make our lives richer. Following Him lets Him shave off the dead layers of our hearts.

And that’s painful.

It’s the opposite of what our culture is looking for: the quick, convenient, and painless way. The Easy Way.

So when we run into these scattered, exhausted, painful times where obedience seems like such a struggle and faithfulness is costly, we don’t need to feel alone. Even if we can’t neatly check off a list of things in our lives we are actually getting done, it’s okay. One day at a time. One bedtime at a time. One court date at a time. One whatever-it-is at a time.

He’s worth it. Christ always is.

Don’t give up. I’d love to connect with you and encourage you! You can sign up to receive posts through email, chime in through the comments or through other social medias; I’d love to hear what is going on. You’re not alone.

(And just so you know, three hours later, the three-year old is still awake.)

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20 thoughts on “The Easy Way

    • Thanks so much for stopping by Ellen! I’ve been realizing more and more what a process sanctification is and how it is innately painful since being turned into a new creation is a complete makeover- painful, but amazing! I’m so glad to connect with you!

  1. Obedience and faith linked and that it’s not an easy thing… it’s such a big deal and so easy to forget. In a culture happening where it’s “think positive” for everything, God is waiting to see if we’ll choose to persevere, as you said, one thing at a time, with Him at the helm.
    My soul breathes this in deep today, Sara… thanks, girl!

    • Thanks, Christine! The whole “be positive” or “think positive” thing rubs me the wrong way, I think because it trivializes the struggles of people who are really hurting. I know so many people who are going through some really tough stuff and as you know, it really isn’t easy. Thinking positively doesn’t change the situation and only isolates those who are dying just to be understood. Only through resting in Him can we see the big picture which is miraculously positive, but we can only truly get there through Him. I totally appreciate your thoughts, Christine!

  2. ‘ We often think of obedience is a simple yes or no type of choice.’ If only it was that easy. The temptation to disobedience is so subtle also & it’s easy to deceive ourselves into thinking the choices we make are the correct ones. Good thoughts, enjoyed reading this.

    • You are so right about the temptation to disobey being so subtle! If we actually saw it for what it was I doubt most of us would choose to go down that road with all the pain, heartache, and lack of fulfillment and joy. It’s just that it looks so fun and so easy that is why it is so dangerous. I’m thankful for God’s wisdom in leading us where we need to go. Thanks so much for your great thoughts, Carol!

  3. I often feel the same way. There is so much to do. Even though everything is good, it’s just a lot! Thanks for your encouragement. I am your neighbor at a Wise Woman linkup.

  4. I stopped by from the Women With Intention Link Up. Your three year old sounds a lot like my youngest, Caleb! I laughed at the Velcro reference. But I love your point. Obedience isn’t always easy but it is always necessary. Even when it’s difficult. God never called us to an easy life, although His yoke is light. He said we are to pick up our cross and follow Him.

    • I’m sure Jackson would love to be friends with Caleb! I’m not sure what it is about the youngest child, but they seem to be fearless and full of life (though Jackson is our youngest biologically, our foster daughter is younger, but I have a feeling that messes up the birth order a bit). You are so right that the yoke is light- there is so much hope and joy along the way. I love how you connected it to how Jesus said to pick up our cross and follow Him: that is exactly what it comes down to. I’m so glad to connect with you and thanks so much for stopping by!

    • Thank you so much for stopping by, Donna! I’m so glad that this was encouraging- faithfulness can be hard so I was hoping that with acknowledging that fact, we would be able to find rest in Him 🙂 Great to connect with you!

  5. having our hearts shaved is real painful stuff. But you are so right, it has to happen. at least if we want to walk closer to Christ daily. but yikes… Such a common misconception that being Christian is all sunshine and rainbow. It just means we never go it alone. Loved your words today sweet friend!

    • Thank you so much, Kim! I’m so glad to connect with you here as well as on your site 🙂 I know we’d probably wish the sanctifying process was easier, but as you said, we don’t have to go it alone with Christ. Hope you are having a great day!

  6. Obedience is a topic I find myself pondering often. Your picture of one step at a time is really what it is all about as long as we are taking those steps in the direction the Father has asked of us. I am grateful that you are a neighbor at Missional Women for I needed to read this.
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda

    • I completely agree, Linda- those steps aren’t really good if they are in the wrong direction. Obedience is often hard, but just because something is hard doesn’t mean that it is obedient. We definitely need to be careful that we aren’t fooling ourselves that our difficult path is simply because we are being obedient rather than a consequence of disobedience. Thanks so much for your wisdom and I’m so glad you stopped by!

    • You are so right this is a struggle as old as time and I don’t think it will ever be finished this side of Heaven 🙂 It’s normal and we can take comfort in the fact that we aren’t alone in it as we turn our eyes to Christ. Thanks so much for stopping by! I love the Favorite Things blog hop- it has been so much fun to join in so hope to see you all again soon too!

  7. You are right. Wouldn’t change it for the world but it is so hard sometimes.
    Thanks for Sharing on the Shine Blog Hop!

    • Thanks so much, Tiffany! I keep remembering how God says all things will work together for good and how He will be glorified in the end. It helps me keep perspective when it isn’t easy!

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