Sunday, March 12, 2017

Try Harder, Try Harder, Try Harder

Hey Friend,

Have you ever had one of those weeks that you want to take a big, old, red sharpie and draw a line through it...crossing it off your mind and out of your life? Sure you have, and I just had one.

Not that we need to analyze every move we make, but I am trying to look back over this week and find out where and when it really took its detour south.  

It started out well after a weekend of refreshment, but not long into the week interruptions began piling up.  I am a task-oriented achiever and so for me unwelcome interruptions can be the kiss of death.  I'm not talking pleasant interruptions like a friend stopping by, but people (especially one) who can get under my skin like none other.

I had a big project I was working on and all of a sudden everyone was demanding a piece...no chunk of my time.  I was allowing them to force their agenda on me and I was beginning to resent it.  Part of my problem is that I allow people to do that because I am, at heart, a people pleaser.  Perhaps that's why I agreed, against my better judgment, to babysit my son's two year old lovable, but full of boundless energy, dog.

As I sat at my laptop, trying to get some work done, she'd bring over one mangled, drool encrusted, squeaky toy and plop it in my lap and then sit back and cock her head as if to say, "This one...will you throw this one?"  "Leesi, I'm busy, I'd grumble." 

So she'd go get another toy...the raccoon who was about to have a tailectomy. Plop...is this it?  She'd sit smiling expectantly at me.  With each new toy she brought to me, I felt my blood pressure start to rise.  Why do I let people (and even pets) encroach on my precious time?  Don't they see I have a non-profit ministry to run?

"I"...."me"...that's usually where it begins.  I even tried reading my devotional and my Bible, but I found myself skimming the words.  Yeah, yeah, yeah...I know this. Finished, done.  Now I can get back to my work.  Just when I thought it couldn't get worse, the interruptions, trouble, frustration mounted day by day.  

My response?  Try harder, try harder, try harder.

If I just tried harder I could get accomplished what I had set to accomplish.  My husband will tell you that by Thursday I was a growling grizzly bear and then Friday I was finally reduced to tears in the Walgreen's parking lot because I realized I had failed miserably this week.  

After my cathartic cry, in the quiet, His words came to me...I cast my eyes unto the hills.  Where does my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord, maker of Heaven and earth (Psalm 121: 1-2).

Once again I had been spinning my wheels so desperately that all they did was sink farther down in the muck.  Try harder obviously wasn't the answer.  So what was?

Instead of pushing my foot down harder on the accelerator, what I actually needed to do was let my foot off the gas, get out of the car, and let God drive. I had been relying on MY driving skills when what I needed was to let Jesus take the wheel. (cue song) 

Today, I have been meditating on the rest of Psalm 121 that came to me in my crumpled pile of exhaustion. Will you read it with me??

Psalm 121

The Lord Our Protector

A song of ascents.

I lift my eyes toward the mountains.
Where will my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not allow your foot to slip;
your Protector will not slumber.
Indeed, the Protector of Israel
does not slumber or sleep.
The Lord protects you;
the Lord is a shelter right by your side.[a]
The sun will not strike you by day
or the moon by night.
The Lord will protect you from all harm;
He will protect your life.
The Lord will protect your coming and going
both now and forever.

Fifteen of the Psalms are categorized as Songs of Ascent.  Many scholars believe that these psalms were sung by worshippers as they ascended the road to Jerusalem to attend the three Pilgrim festivals.  Perhaps that's why they are also called "Pilgrim Songs".

Instead of trying harder (this pilgrim that I am, wandering my way through life), I sure wish that I had pulled away and let quiet reign.  Nothing was really accomplished by my trying harder other than to build my mounting frustration.

When life gets frustrating, distraught, and despair filled, I need to pull myself away to His Word because in it is where I will find hope for what ails me.

This Psalm is filled with cheer, and comfort, and hope.  Read the number of times that the Lord offers protection.

He protects me night and day because He does not slumber. 

He protects me by being my shelter - my refuge from all the people and problems that assail me.

He protects my very life.  

He protects my coming and my going.

In short He protects me even when I don't realize He's protecting me.

All I see is what I see.  I don't see all the things God protects me from every day.  

Likewise, when I am caught up in the muck and mire of my problems, I lose sight of all the wonderful things that are good in my life - all the people and things that are gifts - all the love He pours out on me everyday.  

Gratitude, I'm learning is the antidote for grumbling!!!  Can I get an Amen? 

So how can I do this week differently?  If this week starts detouring south, I need to immediately lift my eyes unto the mountainous hills from whence my help comes from.

I need to take my foot OFF the accelerator and spend time in His quiet presence to hear what He would really say to my heart.

I need to offer prayers of thanksgiving - even in the midst of the unwelcome interruptions.  

I get interrupted from my work.  I have work that I love and is fulfilling.

My ex drives me crazy concerning issues with our kids.  I have two beautiful children because of him.

My son's dog comes whirling into my house for a day.  I have a house to live in and a place that people like to come to...not to mention a big back yard for running.  

My phone pings, and beeps and calls keep coming in.  On a global level, I am one of the wealthiest people on earth.  I can afford a cell phone and a laptop with an inbox that continually fills.

I get frustrated because I'm not accomplishing anything.  I am saved and eternally secure because of what Christ accomplished.  Thanks to Him it IS finished. 

Try harder....no, I think I'll try it HIS way next time... 

What are you spinning your wheels on?  What makes your day/week take a detour south?  What is God calling you to do to change your mode of operation? What truth is He speaking to your heart?

Dear Heavenly Father,  This week my heart has yearned for the quiet place, but I was trying harder, so much so, that I couldn't let go and just let myself go there....go to the place where Jesus holds me, the small, helpless lamb in His ever so strong arms, and gently carries me close to Himself where I can hear His heart of love beating for me.  Let this always be my safe place - my place of protection - where I am your beloved and where you delight in me.  When the world piles up - let me go, no run, to you and let you embrace and quiet me in your loving arms.  In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Be blessed,


ps.  I invite you to join me at our Website for our "sCARves for a Cause" campaign going on right now.  Donations will not only help us to purchase a MUCH needed vehicle for the school, but donations of $75 or more will get you a beautifully handmade scarf by the impoverished women and widows who live near our school.  Come check this out:




Thank you.....

31 comments:

  1. We push down on that accelerator and drive ourselves to exhaustion apart from wisdom like this. Thanks for sharing Psalm 121 -- HE will keep us: our going out and our coming in, from this time forth and forevermore.
    This gives such an eternal perspective to each day!

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    1. Michele,
      Oh, I've driven to "Exhaustion" many times...when will I learn? And, yes, adopting a more eternal perspective certainly helps when I get stuck in the here and now. Thanks for sharing Michele!
      Blessings,
      Bev xx

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  2. My week is shaping up to be "one of those weeks"--and it's only Monday evening! However, your experience and thoughts on Psalm 121 are full of cathartic truth, turning my thoughts to our God of Protection who will see me through. Thank you, Bev!

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    1. Nancy,
      I am lifting you up in prayer right now!! The Psalms (and all of scripture) remind us that God will see us THROUGH...He will not leave us stuck there. What an awesome God we have. Thanks for stopping by sweet friend...
      Blessings,
      Bev xx

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  3. Oh man, I've had a few of these weeks lately. I keep myself busy an shy away from the quiet because I'm stubborn and sometimes because I don't want to hear the hard truths. I love Psalm 121. So much promise wrapped up in those lines of scripture. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Barbie,
      You sound a lot like me...I'm afraid if I turn to scripture I'm going to get chastised...far from it. Especially in the Psalms, I believe God is saying, "Come here sweet child and let me comfort you and love on your for awhile." Praying His quiet and peace for you this day.
      Blessings,
      Bev xx

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  4. Bev, I love Psalm 121 and it will always hold a very special place in my heart. The answer to these types of weeks is right in verse 1 - "I will lift up my eyes". May we remember to get our eyes off our situations and look up to the very One "from whence our help comes". Such a great reminder for us all!

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    1. Joanne,
      So true, I get so fixated on the task and the trial that I forget to lift my eyes to where my help comes from. Joining with you in casting my eyes upward.
      Blessings friend,
      Bev xx

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  5. Oh friend! Your words could be my words. The fact that I even let any days or weeks get out of control seems like hard to believe. I should know better, right?

    God does so much better when it is HIs timing, His way, His leading rather than ours. When I read your words today I was shaking my head saying "me too". We really are very similar. Your reminder to let go and let God be in control was needed. Thank you for your words and honesty.

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    1. Mary,
      We are kindred spirits. The reason I write about this is because I struggle too and often find myself back in the same dilemma of letting days get out of control and getting frustrated. I need to keep my eyes focused on Him in order for things to go His way.
      Blessings,
      Bev xx

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  6. Bev, thank you for a heartfelt and transparent post. Oy, I so related! I do exactly the same thing with the devotionals--yeah, yeah, I know this already (but I also throw in there--get to the point. I haven't got time to read all of this fluff...I don't care about your beautiful toddler). Oh, yeah...and I find myself slipping into the "Old Mary" whose desire was to please, be accepted and loved, and try, try, try to reach perfection. When that happens, I find my peace slipping away. I confess, I wanted to skim over your post, just like all the others--because "I don't have the time" but I'm glad I didn't. The Psalm was a refreshing reminder to slow down and look to God. And turning around our negative thoughts and finding the blessing is also a good reminder. Your neighbor at RaRa

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    1. Mary,
      I honored my post made you slow down and actually read lol. Skim, hurry, try, try try...it's a brutal cycle but one we can break if we slow down and make God our first priority. We can only be seen as perfect through the blood of Jesus...perhaps that's why God calls so often to us to Be still. Glad you found encouragement here today.
      Blessings,
      Bev xx

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  7. I definitely have weeks like that where I keep striving and trying to fix things instead of just handing it over to God. I love Psalm 121. It's a great reminder of where our hope is really to be found.

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    1. Lesley,
      Oh, yes....the old striving trap. The enemy loves when we get sucked into that one. Together lets turn things over to the ultimate "fixer"...Jesus our Lord and Savior. I love meditating on this (Psalm 121) because of the hope it brings.
      Blessings,
      Bev xx

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  8. Bev, your words meet me right where I'm at today. Thank you so much. You never fail to point me in the right direction and give me fresh insight into his love and his ways. Drinking this in today.

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    1. Abby,
      I am so glad you found direction and fresh insight here. I so wrote this to myself this week...glad you could listen in and drink in His love and desire to be our everything.
      Blessings sweet momma,
      Bev xx

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  9. May the Lord help us to remember "the wonderful things that are good in (our lives) - all the people and things that are gifts - all the love He pours out on (us) everyday."
    Great reminder! Thanks for sharing this timely word. :)
    Have a good week praising and thanking our Protector, the Lord of all!

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    1. Ruth,
      Thank you for your beautiful words here! When I get caught up in the try harder, try harder...I need to remind myself, as you said, about all the beautiful gift in my life. Gratitude sure puts a squelch on the grumbles. Praising with you this week. Thank YOU for lifting my spirits.
      Blessings,
      Bev xx

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  10. Gratitude surely is the antidote for grumbling, although I cant quite find the gratitude in the 24inches of snow Stella dumped our way yesterday, except that maybe summer is one day closer every waking morning. Thanks for taking your struggles and creating a post to encourage many, me included! And congrats on your new marriage! Hubby and I are middle aged early weds...we celebrated 5 years last July. Enjoy every moment! Visiting from Messy Marriage and glad I clicked your post :)

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    1. Sheila,
      I apologize for the snow...it's all my fault. I hung up my spring wreath a few weeks ago when we got unusually warm temps. Should have known it would bring snow. Hope this finds you staying warm and shoveling out. I share my struggles in the hopes that others will find hope in what God guides me to. So glad you were able to find hope here as well. Thank you for your well wishes...I feel SO blessed to have found such wonderful joy at this stage in my life. All the best to you as well. So glad you popped by!
      Welcome and blessings,
      Bev xx

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  11. the 'try harder' litany is exhausting, isn't it, friend.

    i lean into His grace and find comfort there. strivings cease. what a bliss.

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    1. Linda,
      Completely exhausting...you'd think I'd know better by now?! Lean vs. strive - I like it.
      Love your concise insights Linda.
      Blessings,
      Bev xx

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  12. This is a lesson I'm trying to learn as well, Bev. I'm so glad I'm not alone in the fight to ... not fight, but surrender!

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    1. Beth,
      You're definitely not alone. It's only in the giving up the fight, surrendering, and stopping the striving that I find peace. Praying I can choose more wisely in the future. So thankful for a patient Father!
      Blessings,
      Bev xx

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  13. Oh my goodness, Bev. You and me both with the sharpie-worthy-weeks. ((Hug)) Thank you for this precious reminder to Look Up. Our help comes from the One who gave us all the distractions and chaos, and for all of those -- yes, I too am grateful. We're more blessed than we choose to realize, much of the time. Thank you for sharing these timely words with #ChasingCommunity, friend. ((xoxo))

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    1. Brenda,
      I should know this by now - look UP! I get way too focused looking down at the task at hand and relying on self and that's when I get frustrated. Sorry you had a sharpie-worthy week, but I hope this did bring some encouragement that there is a solution....eyes upward! Thanks for your encouragement sweet friend!
      Blessings,
      Bev xo

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  14. Love this, Bev! I've had a love affair with effort myself, but I keep running back to my first love... God. Thankfully, He keeps taking me back. Feeling this week like I need to sit in His presence for that quiet again. Thanks for the encouragement.

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    1. Carlie,
      Trying, striving, self effort and sufficiency is quite the tempter!! So smart of you to keep running back to your first love. Praise that we have a Father who is so patient and always picks us up and sets us on the right course! Sitting in His presence is a huge part of that. Thanks for sharing!!
      Blessings,
      Bev xx

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  15. Love this, Bev! I've had a love affair with effort myself, but I keep running back to my first love... God. Thankfully, He keeps taking me back. Feeling this week like I need to sit in His presence for that quiet again. Thanks for the encouragement.

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  16. I must admit that my devotion time seems to be the first thing that goes when I start my days in task-oriented mode! Letting go and trusting all will get done in His perfect timing, and that life's interruption are maybe even a realignment from Him to get present, is not alway easy for us that like check marks beside our lists! Yet, He sure knows how much we need that presence to get peaceful knowing it isn't about what we do, but who we are in Christ. It's a constant learning for me, but am thankful for the realignment! Thank you for your transparency!

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    1. Lynn,
      You nailed it - it isn't about what we do, but who we are in Christ! I have tried letting my devotion time slip - thinking I'll fit it in here or there during the day and funny thing how that rarely happens. Ever since I made first thing in the am. a non-negotiable I start my days out on the right foot and even it the day goes sideways, I have some nuggets of Truth to fall back on. We're all a work in progress...we all need a realignment from time to time. Thank you for your honesty in sharing!
      Blessings,
      Bev xx

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