Growing up, I heard folklore of my relatives walking fifteen miles uphill (both ways) to get to school. These days, I tell my kids stories like, “When I was a kid I had to rewind the VCR to watch a movie.” Or, “When I grew up we had one phone for the entire family, and it was mounted to the wall.”
The other day while telling my kids these stories, I asked them what stories they think they will share with their own kids. They said things like, “I once had to get off the couch, walk to the front of the house, and get mail out of a box.” Or, “When I grew up I had to mow the lawn instead of having a robot do it for me.”
I didn’t like the direction this conversation was going. It seemed to me that the future was all about easy-living in my kids’ eyes. So, since that conversation, Liz and I have instituted a new Martineau family saying: Martineau’s can do hard things!
Whenever we are faced with a challenge, whenever whining starts to ensue, Liz and I smile and simply respond, “Martineau’s can do hard things.” We don’t let our kids off easy but encourage them to work through their challenges one step at a time.
We’ve also been intentionally pointing out to our kids individuals who have worked hard, taken risks, conquered fears, and accomplished things that seem challenging. We’ve been trying to teach our kids that many things in life are not instantly achieved but instead take hard work.
The problem is our kids have been quick learners and have started using this phrase to challenge Liz and me to get off the couch and do hard things ourselves.
Whether it’s training for a long hike, working through emotional hurts, asking for forgiveness, conquering a fear, starting a business endeavor, waking up early to read the Bible… many life-giving things require hard work.
The saying “God won’t give you more than you can handle” simply isn’t true. I think the saying should be, “God won’t give you more than He can handle.” So, as we set out to do hard things, we are better off leaning into Jesus and watching Him accomplish more through us than we could have ever dreamed or imagined. We just need to be ready to sweat and give it our best.