Trying too hard

“How are you doing?” A question many of us get asked multiple times a day. Sometimes I wonder what people’s reactions would be if I answered that honestly. “Terrible.” “Questionable.” “Way more emotional than I would want.” A time and place exists to be that honest, but before I can even dare to be sincere with those around me, I must have the courage to be transparent before the Lord. Eventually my fears or frustrations will come out, and if I don’t give them to the Lord, I will project these anxieties or hurts onto the people around me when they in fact have done nothing in of themselves to deserve my coldness, abruptness, or guarded shallowness.

Yesterday I sat down and wrote before the Lord all the things that were weighing on my heart, and there were some themes threaded through these thoughts. Over the past 8 months there have been different situations that have been…well disappointing, all for various reasons. I was not qualified for some things I thought I was made for, I have experienced some ups and downs in the singleness season, and have fought hard to be a good friend, only to end up discouraging or frustrating those I care most about. But as I wrote out all the details of these circumstances, I saw a phrase repeated over and over again “ I tried so hard.” Were my motives completely perfect in all of these situations? No, sometimes I crossed the line and made good desires idols, but at times I was also sincerely attempting to please the Lord, to love and serve those around me because Jesus has loved me so well. And yet, in each of these situations there was sadness, a death to good and even godly desires. Instead of bringing that sadness or hurt boldly before my King’s throne, I “pressed on.” Yes, times exist when we simply have to put one foot in front of the other, and God gives grace for those days. Yet He did not create me to tough it out or simply walk off the pain. He desires me to depend on Him in the brokenness.Psalm 62:8 “Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before Him;God is a refuge for us. Selah”

Because I kept up this unhealthy pace, I started to live under these weights: I must not have tried hard enough, must have not been patient enough, must not have been spiritually mature enough...Then the Spirit reminded me of the life of Jesus. His motives were always pure; He loved people to the end. However, He still received rejection, cruel punishment, and severe sorrow. Why? Because He followed His Father. Hard circumstances are not punishment for God’s children (Romans 8:1) nor always a means of discipline. Sometimes pain is the instrument in which we actually know and feel the deep, sacrificial love of Jesus.

God in His patience revealed to me that I commit the sin of self-dependence way too frequently, and in His kindness tenderly reminded me it’s ok to admit to Him when things are hard, when I am hurt, and even when I am angry. He is the only one who is strong and stable enough to bear the weight of my soul, and there is true rest in Him when I stop trying so hard. God has never demanded that I be “the strong one,” but He did give me the blessing of depending on Him as my Father.

How am I doing? I am learning, understanding more and more that God has purpose in every detail, that He has a loving plan masterplan (Phil.1:6). I am learning little by little not to start by “trying hard,” but running to my Father so He can form my heart to be a little more like Jesus day by day.  



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