December 31, 2021
Doing Hard Things Afraid
SHALA W. GRAHAM
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“We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy …” Colossians 1:11 (NLT)
As I stood with my hands raised and one foot forward, the floor looked so far away. I was nervous. I was paralyzed. I had already done it successfully once that morning, but fear gripped me. Each time I tried again, fear foiled my follow-through.
At my gym that morning, we were working on skills for handstand push-ups, starting with kick-ups. I know … Why would I ever want to do that?! But there I was, doing a front handspring into a wall so that I would end in a handstand against the wall.
Kick-ups were not new to me. When I had done my first kick-up since returning to the gym back in April 2021, I’d gone upside down with surprising ease and held great form against the wall. Ya girl still has it!
But it was the coming out of the handstand where the pandemic pounds had gotten me. I had not prepared for the speed at which gravity would pull my now heavier leg out of the handstand. Practically doing the splits in the air, I’d pulled a muscle in my derrière. Classy, just classy, Shala!
The muscle wasn’t fully healed even several months later. So now, when I came out of my first kick-up that morning, I reinjured the muscle. I felt the pull. It hurt. I had a reason to be afraid. But the pain wasn’t too terrible, so I continued my workout. My coach came over to help me, but she just made me more nervous. Now someone is going to watch me fail? No ma’am!
I stood there staring at the wall as I prayed. God, why am I so afraid? Why can’t I do this? I know I can do it. Come on, Jesus! Let’s go!
After a pep talk with the Lord, inviting Jesus to join me in my upside-down battle, I regained my confidence. I completed three beautiful kick-ups despite the fear and the pain. I endured and walked away from the wall, feeling like a champ.
When I choose a word for the year, I add it, alongside my memory verse, to the wallpaper on my computer and phone. “Endure” was the word I chose for 2021. I had no idea what I was walking into in 2021, but I sensed it would require endurance. And this year, I’ve repeatedly leaned into my verse for the year, whether working out in the gym or fighting for God’s will in my home.
2021 has been a year where I felt like every day was a new opportunity to patiently endure and do hard things. I still feel the fear and the pain, but I decide to do it anyway. I do it afraid. I do it because God is with me, and He strengthens me with all His glorious power. When I ask, He shows up. And every time He shows up, my confidence and joy grow.
As Paul says in Colossians 1:11, “We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy …” (emphasis added).
As the year comes to a close tonight, I hope you take inventory of all the ways you have been strengthened and how you have endured. And I hope you look forward to the new year with an indescribable joy because, despite all the things that came against you in 2021, you are still here. And when that hard thing that you know you can do — that God is calling you to do — stares you down … do it, even if you are doing it afraid.
Father, it feels like a miracle to make it through another year in a pandemic. I’m grateful to have life. I thank You for all the moments You strengthened me with Your power. As I move into 2022, I choose joy as I courageously do what You have prepared in advance for me to do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
OUR FAVORITE THINGS
As we reflect on this past year, it can be easy for the hard to overshadow the hope. But, because we put our faith in Jesus, the only source of hope, we can choose to hope in the midst of the hard. And we want to continue to help you do the same by continuing to provide free biblical resources to you and other women like you. Before this year is over, will you join our family of donors who have given in 2021? Give now!
Visit Shala W. Graham’s website to download free Bible study resources to encourage you in your calling to Jesus. You can also find Shala on Instagram for more everyday reminders of God’s unlimited truths.
FOR DEEPER STUDY
Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (NIV)
What opportunity has God presented for you to do, even if you have to do it afraid?
Let us hear from you! Add your thoughts about today’s devotion in the comments.
© 2021 by Shala W. Graham. All rights reserved.