You Can Do Hard Things



About two months ago I stared at the number on the scale beneath my feet. I’d never seen a number that big before. Maybe the scale needed to be calibrated. Surely this wasn’t right. I stepped off. Calibrated it. Set a 10 pound dumbbell on it to confirm it’s accuracy. Then I stepped back on.


Holy curse words, Batman! How the (more cursing) did this happen?


A year ago, during a routine physical (hooray for getting old…) it was discovered that my blood pressure was elevated and my triglycerides were dangerously high.

I was overweight and tempting death; a heart attack waiting to happen.


After I stepped off the scale, head full of dismay I called my friend, a weightlifter and fitness enthusiast, and asked if he’d be willing to help me turn things around.

I never wanted to see that number again. I still couldn’t believe I’d gotten to this point. I knew something need to shift and what I was doing (basically nothing) wasn’t working.


If you’ve ever attempted to lose weight, you’ve probably found it to be rather difficult at some point. It’s way easier to eat a donut and drink a soda than it is to eat an avocado and drink water. It’s much easier to sit at Starbucks than strap on your athletic shoes and get to sweating. For some people it’s hard to start. For others it’s hard to maintain. It’s just hard. We all need something to motivate us. We all need little wins along the way. These little wins hold those little lies in check when they begin whispering to us to quit.


It was chest day a few weeks ago and I walked into the gym angry. I’d just heard someone on the radio talking about adoption and how adoption was so expensive. If you’ve ever brought up the subject of adoption to anyone, probably one of the first things they’ll say is, “Why does it have to be so expensive?” It’s a pretty standard question. It’s not the question that bothered me that day. Truthfully, I don’t really know why it set me off, but I remember thinking, “Nobody’s on here complaining about the price tag on that new Yukon. You’ll pay $60k for a car that’ll be worth $40k tomorrow and in ten years you’ll sell it for $5k, but today you want to complain about the cost of adoption? We’re taking about children, people! Children, many of whom will die, have died, without a family. Stop complaining and do something with your money to make a difference.”


I admittedly didn’t have a lot of grace in the moment. I was mad and took it out on the gym. In the midst of my second set, I noticed I was lifting more that day than ever before, throwing around weight like nothing. Not because I was stronger than the day before. But because something shifted. There were no obstacles bigger than the will to overcome. Yes it hurt. Yes I was probably grunting too loudly. Yes, I probably slammed the bar on the rack. But this was the moment I realized something.


You can do hard things.


Arnold Schwarzenegger says, “This area of pain divides the champion from someone else who is not a champion. That’s what most people lack, having the guts to go on and just say they’ll go through the pain no matter what happens. What we face may look insurmountable. But I learned something from all those years of training and competing. I learned something from all those sets and reps when I didn’t think I could lift another ounce of weight. What I learned is that we are always stronger than we know.”


Adoptive and foster families. Listen to me.

You can do this.

You can do this.

You can do this!


Maybe you need to read those last three lines a few times until you start to believe it. You will overcome the odds that seem insurmountable. You will press on to the point where you start to think you can’t bear the weight and then you’ll find the strength to make one more surge and that surge will be your breakthrough. Maybe that surge comes from a friend or family member, maybe it’s a $10 donation from a stranger, maybe it’s this article or some adoption story you’ll read.


The surge is coming. The obstacle will be behind you and you will be one giant step closer.



My wife and I are grateful to get to know a lot of adoptive families. We’ve had the pleasure of meeting you for coffee or a play date. We’ve chatted on the phone or Facebook. Some of us have even gotten to have dinner together or vacation together. I love this! There’s not much I enjoy more than hanging out with adoptive families.

And while each of your stories is unique, this is the one common thing I know about adoptive families. You are the embodiment of what Arnold is talking about. You have “the guts to go on and just say [you’ll] go through the pain no matter what happens.”


That’s you!


Guts. No. Matter. What.


I know this about you. You can do hard things. Not because you’re strong. You might be, but that won’t get you to the finish line. Endurance is the only sure way to finish; the guts to overcome any obstacle. Endurance develops strength. It’s not the other way around. When you go through the struggle and make the decision not to quit, that is true strength; strength that endures. Romans 5:3-4 affirms it, “we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.” I believe in you, in the power of Christ within you.


You can do hard things.

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