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“Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.” Psalm 31:24

Imagine for just a few seconds that you live in a perfect world. You’ve cracked the code. You’ve been magically transported to a reality where you’ve figured out the perfect amount of sleep you need, how many carbs to eat (or avoid), and you have 1.5 million followers on Instagram. In fact, everything is going so well that between your TED talks and book deals, you rarely have the time to teach your advanced financial management courses. You’ve got it all. 

Here’s the problem though: you don’t really live in that world. None of us do. Life is hard.

Right about now I’m making a very intentional decision not to veer right into a very Pinterest-y quote about "growing in hardship," or "hanging on during life's tough times." You know why? Because they don’t work. I know they don’t work because I spent the better part of 2017 trying to motivational-quote my way through a hard season in life.

No offense to the "Hang in there!" cat poster my grandma has, but motivational quotes are just like everything else in life – they’re fleeting. They’re temporary. Shallow.

If your friend calls you in tears with terrible news, you aren’t looking to a motivational poster on your wall for some nice things to say. You have to go deeper.

Psalm 31:24 is not a motivational quote. It’s a battle cry. This verse is David, with all of his own faults and shortcomings, yelling from the front lines, “We’re going to win this, keep pushing!”

I don’t have to tell you what hardship feels like. Difficulty doesn't discriminate. That’s what makes this verse so encouraging... David most likely wrote it while being persecuted by Saul.

Fearing for his life, David commiserates with us and our own hardship on a deep, emotional level. Psalm 31 is a cry out to God, punctuated by a cry of encouragement.

As we go All In with God, we will experience low points in life. That's a fact. It is my prayer for us that we’ll be able to follow David’s example of crying out to God in vulnerability, lifting our hands in praise.