Doing the Hard Thing

Have you ever had to do something you dreaded but you knew it was what needed to be done? A hard conversation? A tough decision? Saying no?

Doing the hard thing and doing the right thing are sometimes the same thing.

My favorite lineman had been pretty quiet lately. When asked what was wrong, he would shrug his shoulders and say nothing. Football was in full swing and school was getting ready to start. So I chalked it up to a lot of new things going on. That is until he came in my room and told me he didn’t want to play football this year.

He’d not said anything until now because he knew how much we enjoyed watching him play. He didn’t want to disappoint us. Then there were the coaches and his teammates to consider. He didn’t want to let them down. But if he were completely honest, his heart just wasn’t in it and he wouldn’t be giving his best. So in the end he had to do what was best for him.

I have to tell you, I WAS a little disappointed because I DO like watching him play. But then I remembered reading this in Brene’ Browns book Daring Greatly:

“Daring greatly means the courage to be vulnerable. It means to show up and be seen. To ask for what you need. To talk about how you’re feeling. To have the hard conversation.”

It took a lot of courage for my almost teenage young man to be completely honest about how he was feeling and what he needed for himself. It took courage to have that conversation with me and more so with his coaches when he turned in his equipment. A conversation we had him do on his own. It took courage to face his teammates, knowing they would be disappointed and maybe even mean about it.

I had to have one of those tough conversations myself recently. I had been thinking about it for several weeks and kept putting it off until I realized my 12 year old was brave enough to do it, so I should be too!

What kept both of us from doing the hard thing when we first knew what it was we should do? It really boils down to three things:

  1. Disappointing People

Let’s face it, most of us don’t like it when we’ve disappointed someone. But ignoring your own wants, needs and feelings can lead to frustration and resentment. This can be detrimental because you end up not being true to who you are and lose yourself somewhere in the mix. Could my favorite lineman have “stuck it out”? Yep. And he would have been miserable in the mix. (You all he had himself so worked up over this whole business he couldn’t eat lunch at school…sigh…)

As a woman of faith I have to ask myself, “Am I trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.” (Galatians 1:10) If it’s more important for me to not disappoint God then I have to do the tough, sometimes unpopular, thing.

  1. Fear

Of what? Lots of things really. Besides of disappointing people, we can also fear change, the unknown and confrontation. Carson had played football for six years. It’s just something he had always done so now this is different. Sometimes “different” is scary enough to keep us from being honest about our wants and needs.

The unknown is a road that’s hard to travel, isn’t it? Carson wasn’t sure what reactions would be…ours, his coaches and his teammates. Maybe he would lose some friends over it. (On a side note we talked about his true friends liking him for being him and not just because he played football.) He had to take that step on a new path and trust his gut.

As a woman of faith, I have to let my fear of the Lord trump any other fear that might get in the way. Which leads me to the next thing…

  1. Ignoring Your Gut

Carson had said to me at the end of last season that he wasn’t sure if he wanted to play football in junior high. I thought for sure it was just end-of-the-season-burnout. I encouraged (read “pushed”) him to at least try it over the summer. He agreed and went to weightlifting and conditioning all the while not really wanting to do it….but then there’s that not-wanting-to-disappoint-people-thing rearing its ugly head!

It’s easy to do isn’t it? Ignore the red flags. Shut down the whisperings telling you this isn’t for you. You make excuses and reason with yourself why it’s okay to go against what your gut is telling you. Until you simply can’t do it any longer.

As a woman of faith, that gut thing, those whisperings is the Holy Spirit. When we ignore the promptings of the Holy Spirit, it leads to disobedience. Disobedience leads to losing our joy. (See John 15:9-11)

You have to trust your gut (the Holy Spirit) and do that thing you dread; have that difficult conversation; make that tough decision.

While Carson has moments of missing football, overall he’s happy with the decision he made. (And he can now eat lunch again!)

Now it’s your turn. What keeps you from doing the thing you’re dreading? Having that hard conversation? Making that tough decision? Be brave my warrior friend! Step out in faith, step into the unknown and dare greatly!!

Love you all something fierce!


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