Shed season is upon us and the miles for piles continues. I’ve put in the hours and burned the shoe leather to find a small pile of antlers that are mostly older sheds, dead heads and half squirrel eaten antlers.
As soon as my camera showed a mature buck had dropped his precious head gear I started combing the parcel I believed he called home. I walked, what seems, every square inch of terrain that could possibly hide his treasured crown. And then it happened, a glint of sun catches my eye from forty yards away, my stomach tightens as it has for every corn leaf and stick that resembles a tine, but this time it’s the real thing. The white tines are in stark contrast against the winter wheat from a long way out. I take a moment to cherish the moment of exactly how it lays before I pick it up, but a moment is all I can wait.
The scratches on my hands, holes in my jeans, blisters on my feet, and walking till dark; its worth all the effort for this moment. I put so much effort into getting every picture I can of him, so much effort to find this one antler, so much effort into building this relationship with a deer.
What if I put in this kind of effort to growing my relationship with someone that would benefit me and my family for the rest of my life, and make a difference literally forever? I’m talking about putting in effort into your relationship with Jesus Christ.
When I was walking through the briars, wading ice cold streams and getting home late for days with zero antlers to show for my efforts, do you think I was enjoying those moments? No, I was not. That can be how our efforts for growing our spiritual walk can be too. You don’t have to love waking up early to read your Bible or feel so excited to spend dedicated time in prayer. But, discipline and effort pays dividends, and the dividends from a lifetime of effort seeking to further the kingdom of God are worth it.
Think about the things that are actually worth accomplishing in this life. If you are going to accomplish something worthwhile in this life it is going to require discipline, pushing through the discomfort and embracing the grind.
Jesus said in Matthew 16:24 “If anyone desires to come after me, deny yourself and follow me.” In order to follow Christ, we have to deny our self of our desires. If you want to grow at anything, you have to press into discomfort. If you never deny yourself, you deny yourself the opportunity to grow.
Deny yourself. Wake up early. Read your Bible. Spend time in prayer. Practice self-control. Have that tough conversation. Ask forgiveness. Go to church. Put in the effort.