Sometimes it isn't even the task itself that is the challenge. The real question, is the challenge worth the reward?
A lot of times what challenges us is the next step to whatever goal of life achievement we are pursuing. When we are dating, the next challenge is deciding to marry or to find someone new. Will I go after this dream job? Will I hike to the top of Everest? Will I choose to have a child, or another child?
It always comes down to, is the challenge worth the reward. If it is, then do it! If it is worth succeeding at, then go all in. And sometimes the reason something seems so challenging is because it is not worth the reward but is required anyway, such as a work requirement. Without the feeling of worth behind it, the task seems harder than it would be if we were motivated.
The question is, what reward is worth it? We can find ways to make challenges easier, or at least more motivating by finding the reward that makes it worth it.
Last week I watched my ten month old climb a ladder. I stayed near, of course, but it was interesting to observe. She is the more cautious child, of my two so far. It took her about five full minutes to climb the five or six steps to the top and all for a shiny, gold-colored point that was sticking out of the doorway of her sister's treehouse. Each movement was full of trembles and each moved hand grip was well planned and white-knuckled, but she was determined to get to what turned out to be a unicorn pillow's horn.
We don't have to be chasing unicorns to make it worth it. It doesn't even have to be something big, a life milestone. We just have to find the reward to feels good to us.
There has been a lot of divide during this pandemic. Some people saying it is the end of the world and others saying it isn't real and it is conspiracy. Some people have complained about shelter-in-place and can't wait to reopen while others want to see another month or more of staying in. I can't say who is right or wrong because I only know what is best for me and my family.
For me, shelter-in-place was worth the reward of time with my family and feeling like I was doing my part to help people stay healthy. It was worth it for the huge shift it brought and ability to step back and take a wider look at my schedule and priorities. Going back to work will be worth the reward as well, as we get to return to a two income family and I get to have a little stronger identity outside being a mom.
Parenthood is no easy task. Yet it is so worth the reward when I look into my daughters' eyes. The toddler and preschool age can be a challenge because of the duality of independence and co-dependence that exudes every interaction. But I would still say this age is one of my favorite because they still love so deeply and cuddly too.
I'm grateful for my life. I'm grateful for the challenges I have been through, yes even the ones that felt dark at the time, because they all brought me right here to this point. I'm grateful for every broken heart that led me to my husband. I'm grateful for every rough day that ends in a cuddly night with my daughter and even more grateful for the smooth days that follow. I'm grateful to get to hold my girls tight. I'm grateful for this time at home with them. I'm grateful to be gaining more confidence about returning to work. I'm grateful to know each bit is its own season. I'm grateful to be moving forward in trust.
I do not know your story. I do not know your challenges. It could be health related, relationship, or something completely different. Whatever it is, is it worth the reward? Can you find a reward worthy to make the challenge feel smaller?
May today remind us we have survived every challenge so far. May we find beauty in the reward and know when to change course when it isn't worth it. Have a beautiful day!