“If at first you don’t succeed, try and then let go?”
Nah…that’s not the way the expression goes.
It goes, “If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.”
You see, I have often lived it out that expression in one of two ways:
“If at first I don’t succeed… well, I wasn’t really trying anyway…”
“If at first I don’t succeed…I’ll try and try again, and then try again and again, and then I’ll force the damn thing and make it work!”
Neither have proven an awesome strategy.
As I’ve shared, 2016 was one of the roughest years I’ve had. I accumulated more fear and anxiety than ever before. I got pregnant and was afraid to lose the baby. I lost the baby. I was afraid to get news that I had a blood disorder, (like my Mom’s) that could cause major issues with all my pregnancies. Test results said that could be the case. I was afraid to get pregnant again. Haven’t gotten pregnant yet — still trying. I was afraid to pass off my job and leadership over the ministry I was building for 3 years. I was afraid to leave my safe, cozy community of friends to go travel the world. Afraid to rent my beloved home out to a stranger. Afraid to get pregnant overseas. Afraid to not get pregnant. Bah! Enough to drive me mad.
And I realized at the end of 2016 that I was weirdly comforted by this pathetic idea that maybe I wasn’t giving it my all, so it didn’t really count. Maybe I wasn’t reaallly trying.
I wasn’t risking myself fully… so it wouldn’t hurt so bad if it didn’t work out.
From last month. I feel like it’d be more gentle if it said, ‘not yet! keep trying!’ hah.
Example: last spring when we first talked about starting a family, someone suggested to me, “You don’t have to start trying. Just stop preventing.”
“Genius,” I thought. This way, if it doesn’t work out, it’s OK, because I wasn’t really trying, anyways.
This concept is about a LOT more than baby-making. It transfers into many areas of my life — and maybe yours.
“If at first you don’t succeed, well… it’s OK, because you weren’t really trying anyway.”
Doesn’t sound like a bumper sticker I’d want on my car.
At the end of 2016, I found myself eager to NOT try.
To just let things BE.
To relax, enjoy, and ‘see what happens,’ like everyone seemed to be suggesting.
And then, of course, I heard the Lord ask me “to TRY.”
To give it my best shot:
Give getting pregnant another shot
Give starting a yoga ministry a shot
Give moving overseas and living abroad a shot
To TRY. At everything. Even if that meant doing it afraid.
But, naturally, when I actually try at something, I expect it to work out.
I expect to give a valiant effort … and see success.
And when I don’t…well…
That’s when the other version of the old expression chimes in:
“If at first you don’t succeed…
force it and make it work!”
When it doesn’t work out, I think to myself, “Maybe I didn’t try hard enough. Maybe I didn’t try smart enough. I tend to half-ass some of these things…” So then I push the pendulum to swing way on the opposite end and I decide that I will make it work at all costs! To prove to myself that I can!
And as much as that sounds like ‘the American way’, I’ll tell ya —
As I’ve lumbered through forcing things, it’s been made clear to me that forced blessings is NOT what God has for me. When I am forcing things to work, I am NOT doing them in trust or in faith. I am doing them in my own strength.
Example: before leaving Cambodia our apartment in Guatemala fell through. First reaction: Frantically searching for another. What we felt God was saying: wait and see what I have for you. Result: we decided to listen (smart). We waited and got a last minute deal on an apartment even better than the last.
The courtyard in our apartment complex. SO dreamy.
This is NOT to say that it always works out. It doesn’t. Sometimes you give it a good healthy try and it doesn’t work. But that’s not the point. I’m discovering the point is OBEDIENCE. God wants to know that whatever He tells us to do, that we’ll just do it.
If He tells us to try, we try. If He tells us to wait, we wait. And we let go of the outcome. We leave it up to Him. Because, it’s up to Him anyways. We can only do our part. We listen. We obey. And then we wait.
What is God asking you to REALLY TRY at?
What is He asking you to STOP TRYING TO FORCE?
I pray you’ll press into finding that divine balance that I am trying to learn…
“….TRY and then… let go.”
I believe yoga can be just an exercise or it can be a spiritual discipline.
And, like all spiritual disciplines, it matters where your heart is and where you are devoting that discipline.
Are you glorifying God? Glorifying yourself? Or are you aimlessly emitting your devotion out into the world and inadvertently glorifying something you’re not even sure of?
I believe that when we engage our minds, bodies, and spirits in devoting our yoga practice to glorify Jesus Christ, we can cultivate a deeper more purposeful connection to God, ourselves, and the world around us.
Yoga helps us grow in our awareness of where we are at — in our minds, bodies, and spirits. And self-awareness is important to our spiritual growth. We can’t grow past our level of self-awareness.
I believe God is a personal God who wants relationship with us. He is both the Creator of the universe and the small still voice within us. He wants to journey with us and be our guide and closest friend, as long as we invite him into that place in our lives.
I believe faith is a beautiful thing to be celebrated and shared, not forced.
I know the transformational power of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I’ve seen the healing and redeeming work of His love in my life and in the lives of so many other people. And that’s my inspiration to share this love with you through yoga.
I believe God is as alive and powerful today as he was during the times of the Old and New Testament. That’s why I offer Biblical scriptures as meditations. The Bible is God’s timeless word — appropriate for encouragement and wisdom always. I also believe God speaks to us individually through the Holy Spirit. In this way God can offer us a timely word — a word that’s uniquely suited for us in the very moment that we hear it. This is why I offer a moment of prayer and meditation in our practices; so that we can intentionally create a space for God to speak, and for us to listen.
My aim is to invite you into a yoga practice that will strengthen your body and fill up your Spirit.
Throughout our time together on your mat or perusing this site, my prayer is that you’ll find connection, feel loved, leave refreshed.
If you want to read more about how yoga can serve our Christian faith, see www.christianspracticingyoga.com
The Opportunity in a Broken Heart
July 6, 2016
The Day We Lost Our Baby.
D&C Surgery is scheduled for tomorrow.
As long as I can remember, I have always been an opportunist. Always looking for a way to make the most of every opportunity.
Sometimes this has rewarded me with incredible, juicy insights on how to squeeze the life out of every precious experience. Sometimes it has gotten me into trouble for taking it a little too far and find myself over-indulging and erring on gluttony. And sometimes… well, sometimes… it’s just really hard to feel all there is to feel in an experience. Like today.
A few months ago my husband Seth and I started trying to get pregnant… and we did! We were so excited and so full of hope.
My mom has a really rough medical history in carrying babies to full term. “Rough” = 5 miscarriages, 1 ectopic pregnancy, and one 6 week early baby: me! 🙂
So, the whole ‘getting pregnant’ and ‘being pregnant’ experience was joy and hope laced with threads of anxiety and fear. I did my absolute best to drown out the ugly emotions with as much belief, faith, and positivity as I could possibly muster. I was constantly reminding myself to take my thoughts captive, rebuke fear, and speak life-giving thoughts into my atmosphere, over my body, and over my baby.
And I DID.
Hard core. Day in and day out. For 11 weeks. All the way up until this very morning… when my worst fears came true.
We went in for a regular sonogram check-up, and found no heartbeat.
We lost our baby.
My heart is breaking now in a new kind of way. The kind of way no one ever wants to grow familiar with.
We’ve been very very fortunate to have lots of friends sending us notes of encouragement already today. Bottles of wine and craft beer dropped off at the doorstep. And a sushi dinner getting delivered tonight. But even relishing in my beloved sushi and craft beer seems like squirting a water gun on a raging house fire.
The grief, confusion, and pain is like smoke around I fire that I can’t even see yet.
But what I can see clearly is the weighty burden of this new and awful “opportunity”.
The opportunity in a broken heart.
You see, when your heart isn’t just “broken”, but it’s ripping and tearing in places you didn’t even know you had, you have a two options:
1) You can stuff it all down and in. Down and in. Down and in, as far as it’ll go. And then do your very best to drown out your heart’s desperate cries with distraction of all kinds.
2) You can open up wide, dive in deep, let it all hang out, and see what’s there.
It’s only been a few hours since I got this paralyzing news. But I already know: I am choosing the latter.
Already, my face hurts from crying.
I have a sinus headache from blowing my nose.
And I do NOT for the life of me understand why this happened. BUT… I am choosing to believe, choosing to trust, and choosing to share. (Lucky you!)
But seriously. We ALL have pain.
Maybe you haven’t recently lost a baby, but you’ve lost something.
Something died along the way, at some point. A person, a relationship, a hope, or a dream.
Something you loved. Something you risked your heart to love.
How did you grieve it? Did you even grieve at all?
I want to be the kind of person that risks my heart to love and hope fully… and then bravely opens up to experience the depths of pain that come with that risk.
Do you have any cans of worms that you’re tip-toeing around in your heart?
How can you muster up the bravery to crack it open?
Who do you know that would stand by you to root through it?
You can do it.
It’s worth it.
Continue reading in part 2