No Sweet Spot


hebrews 12

Something has been sitting heavy in my mind over the past several days.  It’s the idea that if we are serving God within our giftings, it won’t feel like work.  It’s the idea of serving in our “sweet spot.”  It seems to be a pretty common idea in twenty-first century, western Christianity.  It gets me rattled.  And quite honestly, angry.

Here is why.

I have to wonder if Paul was in his sweet spot when he was beaten, mobbed, and shipwrecked.

I have to wonder if Stephen was in his sweet spot when he was thrown to the ground and stones were hurled at him.

Was Peter in his sweet spot when he was crucified upside-down?

Our friends, who have fostered over ten children now and continue to serve birth families after reunification happens – were they in their sweet spot when they were investigated for child abuse because of accusations from a child who had never known safety?

What about the moms I know who are regularly spit on, scratched, hit, and raged at by the children they have chosen to love – children who lost everything imaginable before they could even walk?

Hebrews 11 is full of these stories.  They knew – this great cloud of witnesses that surrounds us.  They knew there was something more ahead.  They believed there was something so worthy of attaining that they could throw off everything else.  They understood there was wonderful joy waiting, even though trials filled the path to get there.

This place, this time – it is not our sweet spot.

The cross – the one Jesus tells us to pick up – is no sweet spot.  It is life and freedom and mercy and grace. But they have been given to us at a heavy, heavy cost.

We are called to join in, to share in Christ’s sufferings and carry our cross. Daily. Every single morning. He says that anyone who wants to follow Him must do this.  Picking up our cross and sharing in the sufferings of Jesus will indeed feel like work – it will leave us broken and bone tired. It will reveal our weaknesses in ways that we could never have anticipated.  It will draw us into stories that are too painful to imagine, let alone live.

No, the cross is no sweet spot.  Our sweet spot lies ahead.

So then, 

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

[Want more inspiration from the book of Hebrews? Read Three Things the Book of Hebrews Teaches Me About Adoption/Foster Care.]

–  Jennifer

Avi and Jen

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  1. Katie
    April 20, 2016

    Hi, Jennifer
    I would say that of course none of these people are in their sweet spot when dealing with the worst parts of their lives. However, our lives are not the sum of our tragedies. When Paul was writing letters that have stood the test of time, he was in a sweet spot. When Peter became the rock of the church and performed miracles in the name of Jesus, he was in his sweet spot. When your friends see genuine healing in a child that they have helped, that is sweet. A sweet spot does not guarantee a sweet life, but just because awful things happen, that doesn’t mean that the sweet spots aren’t there. We, as people who have chosen a harder path, must actively search for the moments of joy because they are nourishment for the hard times.

  2. ErinH
    April 20, 2016

    Preach it sister! #hardtruth
    Love this.

  3. Beverly Regier
    April 20, 2016

    Thank you. My resonance with your story is not an affirmation that I did my parenting without truly failing at times, but rather a resonance with the essence of what you are saying. We are drawn to our place of service through call or through gifts or through whatever language of coming to a certain form of service is preferable. But in our place of service both we and those we serve are broken. We come up against our and their hard places. We sit in those places and work at them and hope to keep getting it more and more right.

    At the same time, we DO need some sense of validation that this call is correct in order to continue through the hard stuff. I see that you have that reason to continue. I look forward to other posts that flesh out these thoughts even more into your own Hebrews 11 stories and your certainty of serving God within your gifts.

    Again, thank you.

  4. Shari
    April 20, 2016

    I see what she is saying so I wonder if there is a better way of saying what is meant by that statement? We find our ministry by the things that bring joy…perhaps not in the moment but we see the fruit. Jesus endured (suffered) the cross for the joy set before him. I love counseling. By the 20th person in a week I am tired, the emergency phone call discourages me, opposition saddens me, the relapse can make me want to give up. And yet, please let me talk to someone suicidal than give me a children’s Sunday school classroom! How do we capture that?

  5. Sondra
    April 20, 2016

    Thank you! It’s not that I don’t love what I do – fostering – but it’s incredibly hard, painful, full of constant grief and loss, and physically taxing. When I weep in church over the exhaustion, loneliness, frustration, and grief of fostering, I don’t need to be told that maybe this isn’t where God wants me to serve. I KNOW it is. It is my calling. It’s just an incredibly painful calling with little reward in this life.

  6. Joy Headrick
    April 20, 2016

    I love this perspective…When God calls us to work for Him, He didn’t promise it would be easy. He does say “take my yoke upon you ” not sure where that is.. He promised to help us carry the burden He has put on us. I love Our Daily Bread and the devotional for today went right along with your post, Jen. God’s Way, about a couple that God called to foster two children, unexpectedly and the hard work that was. She says. “But God knows that some things are too precious to be carried on ox-carts and then He asks us to carry them on our shoulders.” I feel those who have foster and adopted children are carring them on their shoulders, because they are so precious to God. We are always praying for you. momj

  7. Juli
    April 20, 2016

    Ahhhh….. Thank you


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