[pinit]As, I am sitting here at 10pm, just starting to work on my blog for the day. I am overwhelmed by the thought that I should have gotten more done by now. Being new to the blogging world, my “to do list” seems to grow by the day. And, I keep telling myself that if I just “Try Harder” tomorrow, then I will get more done.
But, guess what? I sat here, last night at about the same time and thought the same thing. But, I gotta tell you… I give my best to every single day. So, clearly that is not the answer. Thankfully though, I am reminded of some wise advise that a friend of mine gave me. And, that is to “Try Softer”. If this is the first time you’ve heard this and you’re anything like me.. you’re probably wondering, what on earth does that mean?!
Well.. I’m glad you asked. 😉 Erin NeSmith, who is a Professional Coach and the friend that gave me this advise, is super amazing and actually wrote a blog post explaining what it means. Yay! And, I have been waiting for the perfect time to share it with you all, and I do believe tonight is the night. So for those of you amazing Favored Moms, who are giving all you got everyday and still sometimes feel like you come up short, this post is for you! Take a moment to read and be refreshed. I promise you won’t regret it!
And, for those of you who may have missed her first post, be sure to check out Give Yourself Permission. 🙂
At the end of each day, when the kids are put to bed and your husband is relaxing in front of the TV, it is completely normal that a mother and wife might have thoughts of “trying harder”.
Our reflections on the day often leave us feeling as if we came up a bit short…in temper, in productivity, in progress. Some days we are just too tired to care and the thoughts pass in and out of our heads as we find our way to sleep. Sometimes they are blaring as if someone is shouting them into a bullhorn next to our ear! We have any number of choices in how we react to the messages the day is attempting to send us. And, although tomorrow is “fresh with no mistakes in it”, we can sometimes unconsciously make the mistake of taking these messages right on into the next day with us. Maybe by accident, but possibly even on purpose…
“If I just try harder to be patient, tomorrow they won’t get on my last nerve.”
“If I try harder to be understanding of his exhaustion then I can avoid being bitter about the lack of emotional input I am getting after the kids go to bed.”
“If I try harder to be more positive then I will be able to be a better Christian, a better mom, a better friend, a better person.”
Try harder often leads to feelings of inadequacy, “not good enough” and a failure to measure up. We set a standard for ourselves and others based on what hasn’t been done rather than building on what has been done.
I, personally, have tried harder one too many times on a great too many things leaving myself feeling pretty disappointed and disillusioned. The messages on repeat in my brain can become oppressive, pressuring, catabolic and deafening on occasion. And when this happens, the cycle of frustration can feel never ending. “Try harder” keeps getting harder and Harder and HARDER to do!
So here is what is really crazy, you ready for this? In the book, The Me I Want To Be, by John Ortberg, it says, “the harder you work to control things, the more you lose control” and that, “when I try harder, I get fixated on my own heroic efforts which leads to being judgmental!”
Whoa…judgmental. I don’t know about you, but that is one of those Christian pits I DON’T want to fall into. Judgment is synonymous with Pharisee, not Jesus. Judgment is condemning and oppressive, not life giving and free. When I resolve to try harder I am doing exactly that. Judging myself. And then, if I am going to judge myself, I should definitely hold other people to the same standard as well, right? There’s the pit and I just fell in.
So, you are probably thinking…ok, well then what? We don’t try, we give up, we throw in the towel or even worse…we fail…we…lose?!?! No, no, no…
We. Try. Softer.
“Trying softer means focusing more on God’s goodness than our efforts. It means being more relaxed and less self-conscious. Less pressured. When I try softer, I am less defensive, more open to feedback. I learn better, I stay patient if things don’t turn out the way I expected. It means less self-congratulation when I do well and less self-flagellation when I fall down. It means asking God for help.” – John Ortberg
I believe I serve a God that is rooting for me not chastising me. I believe I serve a God that wants me to try softer, not harder. And, I believe I serve a God that would love nothing more than to give me help rather than watch me fall into that pit of judgment.
If all that is true, then I can be strong and secure in Him and the flow of His Spirit within me rather than using my controlling muscle and my own resolve to muster up the security I am looking for as I approach this crazy, stressful, fast paced life.
Close your eyes. Take a deep breath in. Don’t rush it.
(And if you did, try again. A little softer this time). 😉
As you calmly breathe in this idea of trying softer think of places in your own life where you would like to change your approach. Take off that shawl of pressure on your shoulders, lay down that weapon of judgment in your arms and turn off that laser focus that is searching for flaws and failures. Try softer- resting in Him, in His Truths and in the delight He takes in the fact that you are exactly as He made you to be. Imagine what can be in store for you and your loved ones when the Holy Spirit flows out of a try softer attitude in your personal life, your home life and your social life.
Try softer gives me space and grace and room to breathe. It gives the Holy Spirit room to work. So, today I’m going to…
Professional Coach, Grow Into You, Inc.
Did this post speak to your heart, stir something inside of you or excite you about the possibilities of what life could be like? If so, feel free to reach out to Erin NeSmith at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her website www.growintoyou.org to learn how professional coaching might help you grow into the best version of yourself!