“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…