Daily Devotion: The Pay Off of Hard Work

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men." 
Colossians 3:23

How often do we find ourselves grappling with a challenge or struggle of some kind? We scour the internet looking for answers, for quick fixes, or DIY solutions for our messy houses, our tight budgets, or our not-so-swimsuit-ready bodies. "There has to be an easier way!", we say to ourselves in frustration. Perhaps this situation is also familiar: Our dear friend, Sally we'll call her, gets up early, works out, works from home, volunteers at the school, keeps her house spick-n-span, has four well-behaved and happy children, and brings the most amazing home-baked goodies to mom's group on Monday mornings. Sally has it all together. She must just be gifted at all things domestic.  That's it. It must all come easy for her. 
  What we don't see is the hard work that Sally puts into keeping her world going. We assume that it comes easy because we only see the results and not the effort she puts into keeping all of her plates spinning. This is a common excuse. Oh, she's fit because it's in her genes. Oh, she was born organized. Oh, it must be so nice to be a morning person. Oh, she is SO lucky to have such good kids. Oh, it must just come naturally to her. 
  Oftentimes when things don't come easily to us, we throw our hands up and give up.  This didn't make everything better immediately so I'm just not going to try anymore. How many New Years' resolutions end with a similar sentiment?  The key ingredient for success is simple but it is not easy. Proverbs 14:23 says that, "All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty." Ouch....  We're not just talking about financial gains here. Just searching for diets and workouts on Pinterest won't help me lost those pesky pounds and talking about my business plans with my husband won't actually bring in new clients.  I have to go out and sweat through some tough runs to see any physical change and I'll probably have to adjust my eating habits too and if I want new clients, I'm going to have to go out there and get them. 

    What if we let ourselves go and changed our approach to life in general?  What if we actually did work for the Lord in everything that we do like it says in Colossians? What if we just 'did' and put 100% into whatever tasks needed attention that day? What if every decision we made was prefaced by the question, "Is this what God wants for me?" Partnering self-discipline, which directly links goals and accomplishments,  with hard work is a powerful force and when the two are aligned with the will of God, seeking his approval over anything else, that's when impossible things happen. The results may not be immediate, but results are guaranteed.  It's all up to you. 
  When has hard work paid off for you? What is an area of your life where a little hard work would make a huge difference? 

Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.
— Anonymous

Goethe says that, "Everything is hard before it is easy."  This makes starting any new change difficult because we may have to wait for success, but it does make that final goal so much sweeter when we meet it. When we realize that our house hasn't been a total disaster in a while, our jeans are now too big,  or we find ourselves having to turn away clients because our calendar is full....can you even imagine?  It's all possible. 
  What changes are you willing to do to reach that goal that's been lingering out there for a while? Today is a great day to make things happen. Go to bed tonight knowing that you killed it today. Hit the pillow tired in a good way, from hard work, instead of feeling incomplete, unaccomplished and overwhelmed.