Friday, June 19, 2015

The Deception of Ease

The baby is five weeks old and I'm finally starting to add a little work out to my day. I've been waiting for this, wanting this for 5 weeks. Working out gives me energy and focus that I lack otherwise. I did my first work out and barely made it halfway through. That's the thing with new habits, new work - at first, it hurts. It doesn't feel great. I feel tired and beaten up, not energized and strong. Those things will come, but I have to stick with someone that, on the surface? Isn't fun.

Somewhere along the way we got to thinking that ease and pleasure is the path to happiness. If something is complicated, difficult or frustrating and therefore not fun, it can't possibly bring about satisfaction. Or can it?

I know that working out will give me energy to live my life, yielding more pleasant days. It will help me feel confident and strong, with make me healthy for my family. These are all things that will make me happy - but they are things that are out of reach if I avoid doing the hard thing. The thing that requires discipline. The thing that requires maturity, the ability to deny myself the short term pleasure of avoiding difficulty. True abiding happiness, satisfaction - those things are not found in the get rich quick schemes of self placation.

It requires getting your hands dirty. Saying no to yourself for a better yes. I think God knows a little bit about that. The deception of ease is that you'll never have to pay the piper. That you can have your cake, eat it too and still look like a super model. The saying "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is" would be applicable here.

The Christian life is like this. It doesn't make sense to all who are looking to YOLO their way through this world, avoiding anything that requires growth of character, discomfort or even pain. A world of instant gratification cannot make sense of service. Of self denial. Out of the rigid intense training that disciples of Christ are called to.

I believe that suffering can be redemptive. I believe in a Savior who loves me too much to let me settle for Easy Street - and instead calls me to something more challenging, something for which He has promised to equip me. I believe that happiness is what happens when you grow - in faith, in love, in grace and mercy. I believe that the best is yet to come because He's in control and He's all love. Love beyond what I understand. Love beyond what I'm capable of.

I want more than an easy, pleasurable life. I want a stronger character than getting everything I want when I want it will yield. I want to be stronger than I could be if I never had to work hard at something.

Raising kids, loving people when they are unlovable, and sticking by our commitments - these things aren't always fun.  But I believe that they are always, always worth it. And I'm becoming a better, stronger person as a result.

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