Persevering When the Work Feels Hard

How to Keep Persevering When the Work Feels Hard and Horrible

The Montauk daisies in my front yard were covered in small white buds, a sight so improbable that I had almost missed seeing them. You see, the plants had been an utter failure in their first location, and I had, initially, had high hopes for the sunny spot near the rock that looks like a rhino’s head, but two years came and went without a blossom. Apparently, however, this year’s blast of fertilizer, rich garden dirt, and lots of water are paying off in the form of gorgeous fall flowers.

I’m glad I persevered.

Somehow, sticking with a gardening challenge or editing a snarl of tangled words on a page doesn’t feel hard or horrible. I can pry up commas and nail them back down all day long, but don’t ask me to sew all day long. Don’t listen for me to “whistle while I work,” when it’s vacuuming day here on the hill.

Some tasks are just odious, and I have a feeling we’re all different in our preferences. Unfortunately, we’re NOT all different in our need to actually DO work that we don’t enjoy. How, then, do we keep persevering when the work feels hard and horrible? I’m learning some growth points in 2021 that I’m eager to talk about and share, and they come in the form of two messages that I preach to my own soul:

1. “I don’t need to feel like doing it. I don’t even have to want to.”

My kids got used to hearing me say, “I’m not asking you to want to ____________. That would be impossible. I’m telling you that you have to do it anyway.” Just last week, I said it to a student in the school where I was subbing–and I have also said it to myself.

It’s wonderful and freeing to engage the will! There is beautiful liberty in affirming that you are not at the mercy of your feelings!

After pushing through that initial feeling of reluctance, it’s amazing how quickly I can whip through a dreaded task. Is it writing thank you notes or paying bills that you find hard and horrible? Pick up some pretty note cards, stamps, and a fun pen and keep them in a convenient (and even comfy!) spot where you can work without being distracted by your phone or other more desirable tasks.

Set a timer and tell yourself to work hard for fifteen minutes. Brew a mug of your favorite tea and savor the taste and fragrance while you write or crunch numbers. If fifteen minutes didn’t finish the job, you may even power through anyway because you’ve overcome inertia–or you can make an appointment with yourself to finish later.

THEN be sure to cross the dreaded task off your list with a solid checkmark!

2. “What story do I want to be able to tell?”

I want my family to remember fun food around a welcoming table. It’s my goal to invite people in for meals in a setting where everyone feels seen and cared for, and I want my home to be remembered for its open door. All that would be IMPOSSIBLE if I holed up in my fortress and let the dog hair pile up underneath my feet.

When I look back over my days, what story do I want to be able to tell? My use of today’s minutes will comprise tomorrow’s story.

For me, the regular routines of housework feel like a never-ending hamster wheel, and, sadly, when I’m focused on other work, I can let the dog fur tumbleweeds blow under the dining room table and barely even see them. (Ugh!) Maybe for you, it’s the clutter of junk mail on the kitchen counter or the accumulation of coffee mugs and breakfast dishes in the sink.

Keeping your eye on the end result, ask yourself what’s one thing you can do right now? And while it’s certainly true that the pile of dishes on the counter looks insurmountable, drying them with a pretty tea towel helps my attitude and brings a touch of joy to the job.

Remember, our eyes are on the end result, so if we want grateful kids, we set the example by writing those dreaded thank-you notes. If we want a strong credit rating, we sit down and pay the bills on time. If we believe in a God who welcomes and invites, we make a phone call, extend an invitation, and light a candle in case the house still smells like St. Bernard even after a thorough vacuuming and mopping.

Persevering in the Mission and the Mindset

Writing from prison, the Apostle Paul prescribed a mission and a mindset for all the hard and horrible tasks we don’t feel like doing:

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for man, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as your reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”

Colossians 3:23-24

What hard and horrible task will you be tackling this week?

Speak truth to your soul–and then get to work!

Holding you in the Light,

Michele Morin

Writing from prison, Paul prescribed a mission and a mindset for all the hard and horrible tasks we don’t feel like doing: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart…” (Colossians 3:23)

If you’re curious about the pretty card and the watercolor-designed tea towel featured in this post, I invite you to hop on over to DeMaris Anne Watercolor Designs to enjoy her fall arrivals.

My Gift to You!

I am committed to the truth that women can become confident Christ-followers and students of God’s Word. If that’s your goal, I’m offering resources to help you along the way, like the Guided Meditation I’m offering free to subscribers. Simply enter your email below for regular encouragement in your understanding and enjoyment of scripture:

Success! You're on the list.

What I’m Reading Now

Just Finished

What’s Next?

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and an affiliate of The Joyful Life Magazine, two advertising programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees. If you should decide to purchase any of the books or products I’ve shared, simply click on the image, and you’ll be taken directly to the seller. If you decide to buy, I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

57 thoughts on “How to Keep Persevering When the Work Feels Hard and Horrible”

  1. Oh goodness it’s the quarterly CRC bookstore billing (I give missionaries the option of paying from their stateside mission account) . . . get to it, Judy! Hey! Put down that camera!

    You get the picture.

    Thanks, Micheleski!




  2. Such great suggestions for tackling the difficult and unpleasant chores in our lives with a grateful attitude instead of grumbling about them. When I remember to do all things to honor God, it always makes the tasks so much easier.
    Blessings, Michele!


  3. Today my feelings will not be the boss of me as I will mop and wax the wood floors 🙂 It also helps that 3YO Eliza was down on her belly, her eye balls practically touching the floor as she announced, “Mimi, your floors are a little bit dusty.” All she needs now is a white glove LOL!


  4. This one spoke straight into my season, sweet friend! I’m blessed every time I read your words. Thanks for the gentle reminders…


  5. Engaging the senses to add pleasure to unpleasant tasks is a strategy we used to teach our fourth grade students concerning homework! By all means, bring on the pretty pens and pencils, the diffuser sticks, a cup of herbal tea to sip, soft but pleasing music, etc. As for chores, getting started seems to be the hardest part. That’s when Nike’s old slogan comes in handy: Just Do It! I also set a timer occasionally, to play Beat the Clock!


  6. Dusting is one of my least favorite things. Sometimes…I just dust the few biggest and most obvious pieces of furniture (that somehow seem to be dust magnets). But when I tackle all the surfaces, I play my current audiobook on my phone in my pocket, and that helps. And though I can’t say I love any housework, I love the results.


  7. Working at something (even when we don’t want to) is a lesson we all need now and then! And Colossians 3 is often the nudge we need for the hard tasks. I appreciate your insights, Michele!


  8. The following statement really resonated with me! “After pushing through that initial feeling of reluctance, it’s amazing how quickly I can whip through a dreaded task.” Thank you for sharing!! It was so fun to see the tea towel and card integrated within your post! 🤗❤️


  9. I do have some that I tend to put off, but once done there is such a feeling of self pride and enjoyment at that work. Yesterday was mowing day. Beginning of Summer, I’m fine but yesterday I just didn’t want to. Took me about 2 hours. That was hubby job, but now that he’s gone, it falls to me like so many other task that I’m not use to, but once done there is the feeling “hmm okay, I can do that”. Persevere. Thanks for reminding we all are the same in many ways. Hugs.


  10. I agree much of life consists of chores, responsibilities, and obligations. It is good to change our mindset to relish these tasks and feel grateful for our ability to fulfill them and do them well. Prayer gets us through the hard times.


  11. I have been feeling this way towards fixing up our walls after our mini bathroom remodel but it looks like I am down to the final coat of sanding on both walls then I can tackle the pain job and be done with it. I just keep trying to remember how feels it good when the job is done and done well.


  12. I’m a bit weird in that I don’t mind doing housework Michele.
    I really enjoy the order of things being maintained around me.

    But I don’t look forward to exercising, even just walking! And yet I make myself “just do it” anyway & actually really enjoy it once I’m moving! Go figure! Lol!
    Blessings to you Michele,


  13. Thanks for this encouragement. We do need to persevere at those tasks we don’t enjoy. I love your comment that we don’t have to want to. I’ve started listening to podcasts while cleaning etc and it does help make it a bit more enjoyable!


  14. Just what I needed to hear this week! I’m still working on the horrible task of unpacking and putting away everything from 2 weeks of camping. Then I need to finish the horrible task of cleaning out the guest room closet. Guests on the way in two weeks keeps me on task, but I still don’t like either task!


  15. Thank you so much for sharing your post at our Senior Salon linkup this week.
    I will pin this on our Senior Salon InLinkz Linkup Shares board your post and also share it on Twitter @EsmeSalon

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Oh, friend. These words are wise and winsome and oh, so much needed. It’s hard to keep going when you’re in the midst of really hard work, and sometimes I can forget that I’m not at the mercy of my feelings. I’ll remember your question: “What story do you want to tell?”

    Thanks so much for joining the Grace at Home party at Imparting Grace. I’m featuring you this week!


  17. Reminding yourself that you don’t have to want to do something is a good tip. I find setting a timer and just telling myself I’ll spend 15 minutes on it really helps – most of the time, it’s starting the task that is the hardest bit and once that’s done, it’s easier to get it finished. #MischiefandMemories


  18. My son needs to read this as getting him to do his homework is a nightmare! I went to a blogging conference a couple of years ago and one of the speakers gave a talk about ‘eating the frog’ and gave out little plastic frogs. I still have mine and every time I look at it I knuckle down and compete the thing I have been dreading. Thanks for linking up with #MischiefAndMemories

    Liked by 1 person

  19. What a great post Michele! “I’m not asking you to want to ____________. That would be impossible. I’m telling you that you have to do it anyway.” – I’ll definitely be remembering this and applying it to a whole host of things. It’s funny how when you remove the ‘wanting’, how freer it feels. Thank you for joining us for the #mischiefandmemories linky.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.