"It shouldn't be this difficult!"


We all know the oft-quoted saying “life wasn’t meant to be easy” (Malcolm Fraser). But does it always have to be so difficult? Don’t you sometimes just throw your hands in the air and wonder how something you anticipated being fairly straightforward turned out to have so many unexpected twists, turns and frustrations?


When we first bought our house, it had an original 80s laminate kitchen complete with exposed brick feature pillar and colourful slate tiling. It must have been fashionable when it was built but my husband and I found it dark, dingy and depressing. So, being a young and starry-eyed couple on a budget, we set about renovating it ourselves. How hard could it be?


We decided to buy our kitchen from Ikea. But oh my, what a process. What we thought would be a simple trip there to choose our kitchen turned into an 8-hour marathon of decisions. It then turned out that the kitchen we wanted was soon to be discontinued, which meant that getting all the required parts was much harder as they were running low on stock everywhere. There was one cabinet door that we waited TWO MONTHS to get after the rest of the kitchen had arrived!


My husband had to rip up the slate tiling with a hammer drill before we could lay the wood laminate flooring we had chosen. That wasn’t all there was to it though – we then had to go around with a hammer and chisel to chip off all the little pieces of cement that the hammer drill had missed to make sure there was an absolutely flat surface for the new floor. THEN there had to be a channel dug into the concrete for the new water pipes and electricity and afterward it had to be all smoothed over with fresh cement. Unfortunately this smoothing had to be redone when my husband pierced the freshly laid water pipes drilling the legs of the new island kitchen bench into the ground! (face palm….) Our skirting boards had to be readjusted and painted to work with the new flooring as well. Who knew there would be so many steps in changing a floor!

After the slate tiling had been ripped up


Because of the changes that we had made in getting rid of the exposed brick walls and pillar, there were two huge gaps left in the ceiling that had to be repaired. This is the one job my husband ended up wishing he had paid someone else to do! There were multiple cries of “it shouldn’t be this difficult!” along with some rather snappy responses to his poor wife when she enquired as to what was going on ( I still don’t really know to be honest, but apparently it was all a lot harder than he had anticipated!)

There was a long narrow gap in the ceiling at the back of the kitchen that had to be repaired


Aside from these challenges, there were various other factors that made our renovation project much more difficult than expected. “Double it and add 30” was the advice my mother-in-law gave when estimating the time it would take to do a particular job (she was not wrong). Then there was the price of everything – it nearly always cost more than the budget had predicted. Plus, nobody warned us that renovation side effects would include confusion, frustration, chronic dust, loss of work-life balance, marital disharmony and feelings of impending doom to name a few!

A lot of blood, sweat and tears went into this kitchen transformation!


Of course, a renovation project isn’t the only thing in life to throw up unexpected challenges along the way - it's really only a very minor example. In fact, my experience is that nearly EVERYTHING in life is like this! Marriage, parenting, work, gardening, relationships, even holidays…. Nothing is left untouched by difficulty. So why? Why is it all so hard? Why are there so many frustrations?

Surely it SHOULDN’T be this difficult???


My faith takes me to God’s Word in all of these sorts of questions, and as usual it does not disappoint in providing an answer. The Bible teaches that since mankind’s initial rebellion against God, people and the whole earth are under a curse:

God said to Adam and Eve: “Because you have….eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life….” (Genesis 3:17)


“For the creation was subjected to futility…. The whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves…” (Romans 8:20-23)

According to these passages (and others), the difficulties and futility we often experience in life are a result of this curse. Our work, our relationships, our decaying bodies and the earth itself are all subject to it. We may rage against it (I certainly have) but it is the just punishment God gave because of mankind’s rebellion against him – and to be fair, he did warn us.


God is kind and merciful as well as just though, and promises that one day all will be restored for those who trust in Him:

“…the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption…” (Romans 8:21a)


“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away... He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:1,4)


The reason this matters is because it answers my question with a resounding NO. It should NOT be this difficult. God did not design his creation to operate under a curse at the beginning and he does not intend for that to be the end of it. For the time being, we endure the consequences of our rebellion against God in the many challenges we face in life (renovation projects probably being of the least of them!). But God promises to his people that one day there won’t be suffering anymore, one day there will be no more frustrations. I look forward to breathing a sigh of relief in that day and never saying “It shouldn’t be this difficult!” again.

It shouldn't be this difficult


  1. I love your list of renovation side-effects, and being in the midst of a major renovation right now, I can truly relate. But as you say, renovation frustrations, while providing a temporary challenge, are definitely among the least of the consequences of our sin and rebellion against God. As a fellow "work in progress" I too look forward to the day when He will wipe away every tear, when all creation (including me) will be set free from bondage. In the meantime, I plan to "press on toward the goal......." xx

    1. Yes renovation challenges are certainly minor compared to what else life sometimes throws at us! I think the difficulty in even the small things highlights the curse our world is under though. It all helps us to "set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 1:13) ;-)

  2. Ahhhh the "joys" of renovations! I do feel honoured to have been quoted here though (and I still hold by my estimate of time and pain in everything we tackle). I also always want things to be easy but it's the tough times that grow our character and develop all those qualities in us that we're lacking - patience, endurance, steadfastness etc. And BTW the time and pain was worth it for how fabulous the kitchen and family room look now xx

    1. You're right - God definitely has his purposes in changing us for the better when we experience difficulties!

      I will never forget your "double it and add 30" advice - too true! 😂


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