“Nothing in this world is worth doing or worth having unless it involves effort, pain, difficulty…”
This quote is attributed to Theodore Roosevelt, American President of the early 20th century. I know little about him, but I do like this quote. It stood out to me a few months ago reading ‘Follow Me To Freedom’ by John M. Perkins and Shane Claibourne, in the chapter entitled ‘Pain’. Not a barrel of laughs to read that one, but necessary and healthy to do so.
I feel like I have zero qualifications to talk about pain and hardship, as I consider myself to have experienced very little of it. Many others, both near and far, have gone through much worse than I. But I am learning to respect it a little more. Perhaps in preparation for something? Only God knows.
I do not think life is about being comfortable. That was never meant to be the focus. Of course, we must feed and clothe ourselves, keep ourselves warm and healthy, and know our own limits, physically and mentally. But to make these our priority is to miss the point. There is much more to be had, to be experienced, to venture for than mere comfort. I think we were made to dream, to think big, and to push ourselves in the pursuit of those dreams (I’ve written before about how we need dreams). And those dreams will take some pushing! They won’t come easy. They’ll only come with effort, pain, difficulty…
Bear Grylls says in his autobiography, ‘if it’s not raining, it’s not training.’ There’s a reason that only a few people get to join the SAS like he did. Not because no-one wants to, but because it’s rock hard and takes commitment and a tonne of work. You have to put in the hours, come rain or shine, good times and bad, if you want to achieve anything. Ask any athlete, any professional musician, anyone with their own business. For me that means if I want to keep fit, I have to go and run even when it’s cold and wet outside. That means if I want to see God’s kingdom grow in Stanford, I have to go and pray, and serve, and keep at it, week in, week out.
It will take some effort, but right now, I’m learning to embrace discipline, not to run away from it.