Focus, Mothering, Trusting God

Focus: When Living Well Is Hard

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

This is a post I first shared here a number of years ago. Somehow, the truths still hold, so I thought I would share it again.

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Can I confess that I don’t like hard? I don’t want to suffer in doing what I’m expected to complete in a day.

I don’t want to run into an obstacle that knocks me down in the pursuit of living well.

I don’t know where  the idea came from that living this life would be—should be—easy.

I don’t know why I have this desire to sail through my days with no pain, no difficulties, no trials.

Maybe it’s my humanity peeking through?

In being a wife, a mother, a writer? There is hard in all of it.

When my husband travels for a few weeks at a time and  everything seems to weigh on me? That can be hard to navigate. 

Especially when one or both of the boys are struggling with his absence. There’s no room for self-pity. I’m pouring out, expending myself because that’s what needs to be done.

As the boys work to figure out who they are, how to negotiate the rapids of school or teen life? I’m their safe place. It’s a privilege. 

But, it can be soul-draining to be the one who takes the brunt of their raw pain and tries to help them turn it into something beautiful.

In writing? Finding the words for a blog post that might touch a reader . . .

. . . discovering the right aspects of a story that will speak truth and hope to readers . . .

. . . sometimes it seems like it would be easier to simply give up rather than to continue to pour myself into the words.

And one particular “hard” on this writing journey? To not give into the trap of comparing myself to others andwhat they’ve accomplished.

In being a human on this earth, there is hard.

The question becomes, am I going to focus on the hard? Let it overcome me, drag me down, leave me wounded on the side of life’s road?

Or, am I going to get back up, keep pursuing God, and live in a way that brings Him glory?

God says that we will have trouble in this life. Not we may have trouble. We. Will.

When we walk through the hard things, we make small choices each step of the way.

Often the hard times are bigger than we are. Are we going to press through in our own strength? Or, will we reach out a hand to God and ask for His help? Invite Him into the process of the walking through?

It seems easier to push through in our own strength, rather than to humble ourselves and have to depend on Someone to help us.

Often, when I’ve tried to push through on my own, I’ve been shoved down by the discouragement of not being able to move forward.

I’m learning to depend on the Lord to give me what I need to walk through the hard.

God is strength for me, and for each of us. I know the things I’ve shared aren’t nearly as hard as what many of you go through.

God uses situations in our lives to help us to grow in understanding Who He is, as well as help us to grow in holiness.

He never promised our walk with Him would be painless. But He does promise to walk through the hard with us. And in this, I find great hope and courage.

What about you? What lessons have you learned in the hard seasons of your life? What encouragement can you share with other readers here?

Click to tweet: God uses situations in our lives to help us to grow in understanding Who He is

I’m linking up with #RaRaLinkup, #TellHisStory, Holley Gerth

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12 thoughts on “Focus: When Living Well Is Hard”

  1. Great post, Jeanne. You’ve tackled some hard truths here, and done it very, very well.

    I guess this could be considered a hard time for me, dying and all that, with grotesque pain an the sort of nausea that…well, never mind.

    But it really isn’t. I mean, physically, yes; this computer is on a high countertop (only place I could get the modem to work), and I have to stand to type, and I sorta don’t WANT to because it hurts too much. And there are other things that are no so very, very hard to accomplish.

    But emotionally/spiritually, I’m OK, and I really don’t now why. It’s certainly not a “I’m going to Heaven soon, yippee!” sort of thing; I don’t think about Heaven. I’ll know what it’s like when I get there And while I take a great deal of comfort in the truth of the Gospel story, I’ve never been one to find particular inspiration in individual Scriptural passages, beyond an “Oh, that’s really cool, gotta remember that one.”

    I suppose I’m doing OK because I have a senseless porpoise…oh, wait, sorry, ‘sense of purpose.’ (Though you’ve got to admit, a senseless porpoise would be kind of neat, and a good excuse to build a pool.)

    I’ve got my blog, which does reach some people, the dogs, the help I can give barbara, and the aeroplane I may never finish, but upon which I won’t give up. These give me a kind of ‘hook into tomorrow’, and I don’t know where I’d be without the ability to hold on for what will surely be better days ahead (even when odds are they’ll be worse, and fewer).

    This comment took a long time to finish, so I hope it meander too much (and I’m sorry it’s so long!)

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    1. Andrew, I am always, always blessed by your comments, whether they be short or long. It does seem that having things to look forward to—in part for you caring for Barbara and the dogs and working on your aeroplane are things that help you endure your hard days. God seems to give you the strength and the perspective you need to get through each painful day. Your attitude and outlook are a continual inspiration.

      And your senseless porpoise may have made me guffaw. A little.

      Praying for you all, my friend.

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  2. So often I wish that life was easier, but often when I look back it is the hard times that have really grown my faith, where I’ve discovered that God is with me and I’ve learned to depend on him and not myself. I think those little choices, like asking him for help and choosing to focus even for a moment on him instead of our circumstances, make a big difference. Praying for you!

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    1. Lesley, there is a part of me that wishes life was easier too. But you’re right. The growth, the depth of understanding, the become more like Jesus comes through walking through the hard seasons. Those moment-by-moment choices made, the deciding to lean on the Lord . . . these can only be gained when walking through difficulties. Thank you so much for your prayers!

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  3. I find hope and courage in this, too, Jeanne – “He never promised our walk with Him would be painless. But He does promise to walk through the hard with us.” Thank you for all your encouraging thoughts. And I love your nature photos! They help me through the hard, too! Love and hugs to you!

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    1. Trudy, there’s much comfort in knowing God walks through all of life with us, isn’t there? I’m so glad you enjoyed the photos. May the Lord continue to be your encourager and your strength. Love and hugs, sweet friend!

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  4. What comes to my mind Jeanne (and I hope it doesn’t sound cliche) but I think the hard is for us to fulfill His purpose He has for us and for all His children–so they know His love. Each hard thing brings us closer to Him and also is preparing us for what’s He’s got planned—that person He wants us to serve through our own learning for example. Doing the hard is part of the leaning in to His promises and surrendering to completely trust in His ways. I’m writing these thoughts for myself as well! Appreciate how you make me go deeper!

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    1. Lynn, this doesn’t sound cliché. I agree. God uses the hard in our lives to help us become more like Jesus, and to enable us to better walk out the purposes He has for us. I loved all your thoughts here, friend. It seems like it’s in the brokenness where we become more like Him. Thank you for sharing your insights here. They’re spot on.

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  5. Oh Jeanne … so much of this sounds like it could have come straight from my own head and heart. I wish things were easier for you right now, but I so appreciate how you’ve been writing about your family’s journey as of late … it always encourages and comforts me to read about others who are doing their level best to rely on God’s character as they persevere through the hard times. Prayers and hugs, my friend.

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    1. Thank you, sweet friend. Things are easing up some, thankfully. God has walked with us through things. I’m thankful to have my husband to lean on for guidance and support as well. I’m with you . . . encouraged by others’ stories of persevering. You are among those people, my friend. Sending you prayers and hugs back!

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  6. You’ve said it so well, Jeanne … and your words will ring true for everyone who’ll sit quiet long enough to hear your heart.

    Yes, so much is hard and unfair, and just plain out of kilter. But there’s a comfort in knowing that Jesus experienced that and so very much more when he walked this earth.

    So I just KNOW He gets it when I pour out my heart to Him.

    Bless you today …

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    1. Linda, I love your perspective. You’re right. There’s nothing we experience in this life that Jesus didn’t also experience. We have a Savior who knows our pain. And I’m beyond grateful we can pour out our hearts to Him, knowing He can handle and empathize with all of it.

      Thank you for your words!

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