The Cure For The Try Harder Mentality

Hello there! I know it has been a while since I posted anything and I have been as contented as a kitten with a belly full of warm milk during my writing break. But, I got the urge this morning to hop on the Five Minute Friday wagon and offer a post using the prompt that is tossed out. Today’s writing prompt is the word TRY. Now, to write for 5 minutes on this word.  Ready? Set? Go!

 

The Cure For the Try Harder Mentality

 

 

TRY harder!

TRY to be the best!

Just TRY one more time!

All are worthy admonitions until they settle too deeply into the heart and mind and become slave-drivers and task-masters. So it was with me. The TRY admonition that I became enslaved to was ‘TRY to be enough’.

Do you even know how impossible that is if we do it under our own steam?

TRY to get the best grades.

TRY to be thinner.

TRY to be the most popular.

TRY to have the prettiest/largest/most well-decorated house.

TRY HARDER TO BE ENOUGH!

I’m absolutely exhausted just thinking about it, yet it was my mantra for decades. You see, I’ve never felt like I was enough…at anything. So I would TRY harder. And you know where that left me…exhausted, frustrated, physically demolished, and spiritually dry. Because, y’all, you and I do not have the capacity to be enough without the help of Jesus.

It is only when we cease our TRYING, rest in His accomplishment, and let Him live through us that we are enough. Now when I recognize that I am into the TRY harder mode, I stop and tell myself that trying harder will not work. I also say, ‘Leah, you are enough because of Jesus Christ’.

So, beautiful, friend, when you feel like you must TRY harder to be something that the culture says you should be, throw up a stop sign and tell yourself that you are enough in Christ.

 

SDG/FCA!!

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Five Minute Friday ~ Weary

I had another post planned for today, but when I saw the #FMFparty prompt, I knew God was calling me to write on it. So, here we go.

I am a self-confessed Type A. I go, go, go. I do, do, do. My motto has always been ‘if you want something done right, do it yourself.’ I have always been a performance-driven individual, seeking to be the best and do the best. When I begin something, I take responsibility for it and see it through to the end. Some of these tendencies are good and right, while others…not so much.

In the past ten years, I have come to understand that go, go, go and do, do, do will wear one completely out. It will make one WEARY, and that weariness is a clarion call from Jesus to stop and rest. How we answer that call makes all the difference in the world.

 

Come to me

 

 

I began leading and hosting a ladies Bible study group in my home in January of 2001. I have written about this precious group many times here on the blog. They are my sisters. We have loved one another, prayed for one another, and held each other’s arms up when the battle grew fierce. We have loved, laugh, eaten, and cried together more times than I can count. Not enough Christians have the privilege and blessing of being part of a small group like this. It has been a source of strength and fellowship for me for 15 solid years.

Our group did my HeBrews study this fall, and of course, I led the study and hosted. Something was not quite right, however. On Monday nights I would find myself dreading Tuesday morning, and wishing I could have the option of not attending. I could not do that, however, because I was the leader and the group met at my home. I thought that my feelings were because we were doing MY study. I have this aversion to leading my own studies. I feel like I am pushing MY work on the group and hogging the floor time. I much prefer to lead another author’s study.

About three-quarters of the way through the study, the Lord gave me an ‘a-ha’ moment. I realized that what I was feeling was because I was WEARY. Life had dealt some devastating blows in the past year, and I had not truly taken time to rest and recover from them. I had pushed ahead with work, and family, and life, and ministry, and leading Bible study. Now, all of my go, go, go, and do, do, do had come crashing in on me in the form of WEARY. I knew, without a doubt, that the Lord was calling me to step back from leading and hosting Tuesday morning Bible study.

“But, Lord, if I don’t lead and host, the group might dissolve.”

How prideful of me to think that I was the glue that held the group together!

I asked Jesus to forgive me for that pride, and to lead and guide me as I shared my feelings with my core group. I told them the following:

I am WEARY, friends. Not tired, as in not-enough-sleep tired. Rather it is a soul weariness. I have felt this for a while now, but have not been willing to admit it because I feel so responsible for the group. But, the time has come to share it with you.

 

It was a hard thing… this stepping out in faith that God already had plans for this group. If someone stepped forward to lead, the group would continue, but if no one stepped forward, the group would dissolve. That last part was the challenge for my WEARY heart. I had to let go of control of the group, and trust Jesus. I had to realize that perhaps His plan might be to scatter the seeds that have been sown over the past 15 years.

As it turns out, the core group affirmed the value of Tuesday morning and sought a way to keep it going, while allowing me the blessing of stepping back from leading and hosting. These women….I love them so!

I believe that my willingness to acknowledge my WEARY soul will lead to blessings for me, and multiplied for the ladies who stepped forward to lead the Bible study group.

Are you WEARY? If so, God is probably trying to get your attention.

 

 

 

Five Minute Friday ~ Family

 

Family.

 

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Until a handful of years ago, the definition of family would have been fairly narrow for me…..parents, siblings, husband, kids….and dogs and cats. Funny how, sometimes, God expands your world in order to enlarge your heart. Yes, family still looks like this:

 

Family 1968

 

May 2004 ~ The Colwell Family

May 2004 ~ The Colwell Family

 

July 2013

July 2013

 

The Adams Family - 2012

The Adams Family – 2011

 

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Greg, Leah, Charlie, and Bree

Greg, Leah, Charlie, and Bree

 

But family also looks like this:

 

Bree and Emily

Bree and Emily

 

Art-Tastic! for Bree's birthday.

Art-Tastic! for Bree’s birthday.

 

And this:

The Blairs - My precious friends. Charles has gone on to be with Jesus, but Betty and I still talk weekly.

The Blairs – My precious friends. Charles has gone on to be with Jesus, but Betty and I still talk weekly.

 

And this:

 

Tuesday Bible study girls

Tuesday Bible study girls

 

Cindy and me at the Great Pyraminds.

Cindy and me at the Great Pyraminds.

 

Family is more than the small cluster of individuals into which you are born. Family is a group of people who care about and love one another. They care deeply and love sacrificially. Family, hopefully, walks in when the world walks out. They pray and give and surround. Family sees you at your best and at your worst…and loves you anyway.

I did not give birth to either Charlie or Bree, but they are my kids, my heart, my loves. They are my family just as surely as if I had birthed them.

I was blessed with wonderful parents who were married for 46 years. We were not a perfect family, but it was good. I am equally blessed with amazing in-laws. They love me and I love them like crazy.

My Tuesday morning small group of ladies is another family to which I belong. We have studied God’s Word together for 15 solid years, and prayed for each other through the storms of life. We have rejoiced together at graduations, weddings, births, and pot luck lunches. They are my sisters, and a super important part of my life.

My friend, Cindy, and her husband, Robert, are not only dear friends, but I consider them family. We have walked through many life experiences together, and we treasure them deeply. My friends, Charles and Betty Blair, have been special people to me. I met them through the pharmacy I worked at when we moved back home. Over the years our friendship deepened, and has been such a blessing. Sweet Charles went home to be with Jesus earlier this year, but Betty is still a wonderful part of my life.

There are a handful of incredible young adults that I consider to be family. They are friends of Bree’s from her days at Young Harris College. They have tucked their knees under my table many times, and more than a few have laid their heads on my pillows. I love them and pray for them and am so blessed do life with them.

Family. I am one blessed woman.

 

 

Linking up today with Kate Motaung for Five Minute Friday. Today’s prompt is FAMILY.

 

 

Five Minute Friday ~ Doubt

DOUBT. Truth be told, DOUBT is a different way of saying unbelief.

There is no ICD-9 code for it in medicine, yet it is the disease that afflicts each one of us from time to time. Even the saintly-est of us are beset with it on occasion.

Sarah experienced DOUBT ~~ that she would bear a son at the spry age of 90.

Moses was full of DOUBT ~~ that he could speak before Pharaoh, and then lead the Israelites out of Egypt.

John the Baptist expressed DOUBT ~~ that Jesus was really the One sent from God.

Paul admitted to DOUBT ~~ that he and his companions would survive on one occasion.

The Jewish Christians being addressed in the book of Hebrews DOUBTED ~~ whether they had done the right thing by leaving Judaism and following Jesus.

When times are tough and one’s heart is in turmoil, DOUBT can creep in and overtake. I know this one. I have lived it. Satan capitalizes on those troubled times, and plants a seed of DOUBT in the heart of a Jesus lover. Left untreated, DOUBT is fatal to faith. That is why it is of utmost importance for you and me to run straight to the Great Physician and let Him treat our unbelief.

 

Romans 15 13

 

 

DOUBT. Unbelief. They require strong medicine….heavenly chemotherapy, if you will. It takes an infusion of hope and peace and grace to kill DOUBT.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:2-3 (NIV)

 

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13 (NIV)

 

The Holy Spirit has the cure for the DOUBT and unbelief that Satan tries to plant in our hearts. We must keep our eyes on Jesus, remember that He knows our heart, and ask Him to replace our DOUBT with faith. Let’s do this thing, friend!

Linking up today at Five Minute Friday with Kate Motaung and a delightful group of writers.

Five Minute Friday ~ Celebrate

CELEBRATE: to do something special or enjoyable for an important event, occasion, holiday, etc.; to praise (someone or something); to say that (someone or something) is great or important; to perform (a religious ceremony)

You and I CELEBRATE all sorts of things in this life:

  • Birthdays
  • Weddings
  • Anniversaries
  • A New Job
  • Retirements
  • Graduations
  • Published Articles
  • Book Contracts
  • Raise in Salary
  • Answered Prayer
  • A New Milkshake Flavor at Chick Fil A!!!
  • A Win by my Georgia Bulldogs

Perhaps you have a few more things to add to my list. In large and small ways, you and I CELEBRATE things that bring us pleasure and joy.

 

celebrate

 

May I ask you a question? A thought-provoking question?

Do you CELEBRATE the successes of other people as much as your own success?

When your co-worker gets an accolade or a promotion that you think you deserved but didn’t receive ~ do you CELEBRATE with them?

When another writer is blessed with a book contract ~ do you CELEBRATE with them?

When a blogging friend has a post go viral ~ do you CELEBRATE with her?

When your neighbor purchases a new car ~ do you CELEBRATE their blessing?

I must confess ~~ I have not always been good at CELEBRATING the successes of others. It is so easy to be jealous and selfish when others receive a blessing that I so desperately desire. Yet, one of the marks of a mature Christian is one who realizes that God has a reason for giving blessings to one, while withholding it from another. In His perfect plan, He knows when I can handle a blessing, and when it is best for me not to have it. He knows what I am capable of, be it selfishness or self-LESS-ness.

So, the question on the table is am I…are you…willing to trust God to give His best in His timing? Am I willing to CELEBRATE the successes of others? Are you?

 

Linking up today at Five Minute Friday with Kate Motaung.

 

Five Minute Friday ~ Same

September 11, 2001

My day began the SAME as always. It was a Tuesday morning, and I was on my way to Bible study via the tire shop. When I walked into the tire shop, people were gathered around the small television in the waiting room.

An airplane had smashed into one of the World Trade Center towers in New York. What in the world? Had the pilot dropped dead? Had there been a gas leak in the cockpit and the flight crew were unconscious? Or had something even worse happened?

I dropped off my keys to the clerk and hopped in my friend’s vehicle. As we rode to Bible study, I told her what I had just heard. Five minutes later we arrived at the home where Bible study was being held that day. We turned on the television, only to find that a second airplane had flown into the second tower. The newscasters were speculating that terrorism had become part of the lives of every American  in those moments. We were shocked, but went ahead with Bible study, praying especially hard for those in New York and around the country who would be affected by this tragedy. Two hours later we learned that two more airplanes had been crashed, taking every soul aboard into eternity.

I left Bible study that day with the overwhelming feeling that nothing would ever be the SAME again. I was not alone in my feelings. For days and weeks, television talking heads echoed my feelings, musicians sung songs declaring that the world had changed on 9/11, and we lived a little differently because of it. For a while Americans flooded churches, seeking solace in the Almighty. Our hearts were little more fearful as we went about our daily lives.

Some things have never been the SAME again. We now have to endure long security lines at airports, place our little bottles of shampoo in quart sized bags, and expose our stinky feet so shoes can be x-rayed. We have Homeland Security, terrorist watch lists, and a new vocabulary full of radical-speak.

 

Hebrews 13 8

 

Two things, however, are the SAME.

First, by-and-large, the hearts of Americans have drifted away from those days when churches overflowed with people seeking God in the midst of tragedy. Our complacency toward spiritual things has returned, and may be worse than before 9/11. God has been shunned from the public square, and Christians are being shunned and persecuted for their beliefs. Right is called wrong, and wrong is called right and we are fulfilling what the Bible says in Matthew 24:37 (The Message):

The arrival of the Son of Man will take place in times like Noah’s.

The days of Noah are rapidly approaching, friends. Without Jesus, the human heart is the SAME.

The second thing that is the SAME brings good news to our hearts.

Jesus Christ is the SAME yesterday and today and forever.  Hebrews 13:8 (ESV)

 

No matter how the world changes, Jesus never does. His power is the SAME power that created the universe. His love is the SAME love that sent Him to the cross. His justice and righteousness will banish Satan to the lake of fire. His mercy, grace, and forgiveness are the SAME that were offered to Peter after he denied knowing Jesus ~ three times. The peace that Jesus gave His followers after His death is the SAME peace that is available to you and me today. The boldness that He placed in the hearts of those early disciples is the SAME boldness that He gives us in the days in which we live.

The standards of our world may change, but the standards of Jesus never change. This sameness of Jesus in a world that is ever-changing is the foundation on which our hope stands. Cling tightly to Jesus when everything in your world is changing. He will always be the SAME.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Linking up today for Five Minute Friday with Kate Motaung.