We Are Designed to be Challenged

When have you been happiest in your life?

Seriously, take a minute to think back and recall when you felt the most alive and thriving.

When did you get out of bed in the morning and look forward to the tasks ahead?  When did you feel that you had purpose?  Do you have at least one time in your life in mind?

Now, I’ll make you a bet.  If I’m wrong, I’ll make you a nice lunch and we’ll sit with some iced tea on my back porch and talk about it.

During the period of your life that you were happiest – the one you are remembering – I’ll bet you felt challenged.  I’ll bet you were working to accomplish a big goal – one that was difficult and risky and had no guarantees.  One that exhausted and excited you.  Am I right?  Even though I’m pretty sure I won that bet, I still want to chat about it over some tea on my back porch.

Are you feeling bored or lethargic about life?

Do you feel that you have a hard time pouring your life into your loved ones because your pitcher is empty?  Maybe it’s time to start something new.  It’s important that we, as moms, spend some time doing things that energize us and fill up our emotional tanks, or our “pitchers”, as Sarah Mackenzie so beautifully describes in Teaching from Rest.

The thing that fills my pitcher might not be what fills yours.  And in certain seasons of life, we may only get a few minutes a day of refreshing.  But it is important to know what those things are and to make time for them – even just a little time.

If your daily life feels like complete drudgery and you have absolutely no time at all to add anything fulfilling into your schedule, perhaps it’s time to pray about what you can prune.

If we are growing, we need to prune. It just comes with the territory. If we want to produce good fruit, we have to prune even some of the good activities and tasks from our schedules. This can be painful and difficult, but it is clear.

John 15:2

Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.

What is in your life – hint:  look at your daily schedule or to do’s – that has stopped bearing fruit?  There may be things that used to bear fruit in your life, but now they are not.  Pray over these things and ask God if there is still life in them or if it is time to let it go and make room for His best for you.

I believe that God made us to crave a challenge.

I believe that He designed us to be happiest when we take on His big projects that take thought and work and maybe even sweat.  If we take the time and space to listen to Him, He puts these callings on our hearts and lays down the challenge.  Will we take it up?

I certainly see this in my own life and in the lives of my friends and family.  When we have a project, a goal that we’re working toward, or a new skill that we’re learning, we feel the most happy and alive.  When we are not actively working on something challenging, we feel bored, lethargic, and sometimes even a little blue.

My son has recently been challenging himself physically with exercise.  Last month he did 300 push ups a day – just because he wanted to see if he could do it for a whole month!  It took discipline and there were nights when he would get into bed only to remember that he had 100 remaining.  He would get up and finish them.

Then this month he didn’t set a “challenge” for himself.  But after a couple of weeks, he started to get bored.  I would walk through the living room and find him just sitting and listening to a book on his tablet, starting into space.  Sure enough, one afternoon he announced, “Mom, I was bored so I decided to start another challenge.”

Our challenges will be different for each of us.

In some seasons of our lives, a challenge might include getting our toddler and baby to nap at the same time each afternoon.  We might research tips and schedules that other moms have tried.  We might read books about our kids sleep needs, circadian rhythms, and routines.

At other times, we might feel led to start a business, begin a ministry, train for a race, learn a new skill, move to a new home or location, work on a house project, or just clean out our closet!  God puts different desires on our hearts at different times in our lives.  But I don’t believe that He wants us to live life feeling that we are in a rut.

Just like hill repeats make the flats easier, learning algebra makes calculating a tip easier, and raising children makes just about anything else easier, challenges are good for us.  They stretch us and grow us and give us perspective.

What challenge has God laid on your heart in this season?  Leave a comment and let us know so that we can cheer you on!






  1. I absolutely agree that we thrive when we have a goal. My first road race taught me that. A part of my mind and will that had been “asleep,” finally woke up. It was awesome. I felt more alive than I had in a long, long time. This year, I’ll be running again, but I’ve also carved out time for learning a new hobby. It’s so energizing.

    1. Yes! Love how you put that…that part of your mind and will woke up. And this reminds me that we need to catch up so I can hear how your class is going.

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