20 April 2019

easier isn't always better (and a free printable)

"Easier isn't always better."

This phrase has been rolling through my mind pretty consistently the last couple of months. It's become a mantra, a reminder to myself. 

I think I have spent most of my life wishing for easier moments. Whether those moments are in parenting, walking through hard things with a kid that has extra needs, watching loved ones endure illnesses we have no control over, losing people I adore, moments of feeling lost. I think it's a normal human reaction to feel a sense of self pity, sadness, even anger. We look left and right and wonder why our circumstance doesn't seem as easy as the people around us. Especially in the era of social media and comparison, we can feel so discontent with what we've been given.

And then one day, driving home from somewhere all alone, in a rare moment of quiet, it occurred to me: "easier" and "better" are not interchangeable. I'm not talking about conveniences (you all know I love my Instacart) - if we can make our lives easier by asking for help and support, then let's jump on that. Grocery delivery and childcare top my list right there. But hardships, the things that stretch us to our limits, those moments that feel heavy - those are moments of opportunity. Opportunity to grow, to be refined, to gain strength, and to draw ourselves in even closer to God's peace.

I remember at one point in my early twenties, I was going through something hard and uncomfortable and emotional. I was talking to someone I admired so deeply, someone with wisdom and life experience and faith that I hoped to emulate someday. "Carina," she said, "it's painful now. But the more deeply we experience suffering and heartache, the more deeply we can experience joy."

I think of that conversation all the time. This opportunity to feel deeply - the heartaches and the sadness, but then the joy and real peace.

It's something I want to teach my children, hopefully in love and with grace: that we have no reason to expect our lives to be easy. Things will be wonderful and amazing, and then they will suck for a little bit. But there is always an opportunity for greater joy on the other side, if we choose to push through, to seek the beauty from the ashes, and to allow ourselves room to grow.

If you need this reminder as much as I do, you can snag the printable free here!

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