You Don’t Have to Try So Hard

Peace begins...

Every now and then a pop song comes along that plays my heart-strings. It’s a strange phenomenon because I love all genres of music and there are some very soulful tunes out there. But there’s just something about a pop song that sticks from time to time.

“Try” by Colby Caillat is one such song. I heard it again while watching a television show this week. For what seemed like the first time, I really listened to the lyrics….

“Put your make up on. Get your nails done. Curl your hair. Run the extra mile. Keep it slim. So they like you. Do they like you?

Get your sexy on.  Don’t be shy, girl. Take it off. This is what you want, to belong. So they like you. Do you like you?

You don’t have to try so hard. You don’t have to give it all away. You just have to get up, get up, get up, get up! You don’t have to change a single thing.”

Here’s a confession for you… I chase expectations.

I am a good person, a good mother, a good friend. And I need you to believe that about me. Good people exercise patience, and do not get annoyed that you are running late. Good people accept your apologies and move on. Good mothers have a clean house where she lives with her well-behaved, honor roll students. Good mothers cook dinner every. single. night. Good mothers play dolls and dress up for hours on end without wishing their children would move on to something else. Good friends do more listening than being listened to. Good friends know exactly what to say and are always ready with an encouraging word when you’re having a hard day. That’s me – or better said, that is the expectation.

It’s all a performance, you see. If I can be these versions of me and meet these expectations then that will mean I am worthy. I am accepted. I am enough. The irony in it all is that I control those expectations. My satisfaction and disappointment in myself or a situation lies solely on what I expect.

I would never say to my children that they have to be a certain person or chose a certain path to gain my love and acceptance. It’s there – always has been and always will be. Yet, I struggle to wrap my head around the truth that God loves us the same way. He isn’t impressed with the number of hits on my website, the number of ‘friends’ I have on Facebook or the number that stares me down from the scale.

In ‘Grace for the Good Girl’, Emily Freeman writes, “When we believe that God expects us to try hard to become who He wants us to be, we will live in that blurry, frustrating land of Should-Be instead of trusting in the One Who Already Is.”

My expectations and definitions of a good person, a good mother, and a good friend have been blown up and exaggerated greatly. Do you have expectations and definitions that are illogical and dangerous? Won’t you share them with me…

All the Small Things

Enjoy the little things

It’s the little things in life that make a big difference. The picture my daughter paints for me, a text from my teenager to say “have a good day, mom”, the sunshine beaming down on a cool day or a kind smile from a stranger. Those small, seemingly unimportant things can turn your day around.

I’m not surprised that this truth carries over into blogging, as well. The 2nd assignment for WordPress Blogging 201 is to audit your brand – take a look at your site and critically inventory even the smallest details. From the colors & background to the header and widgets (those are the ‘extras’ in the sidebar to your right.) All of those details make an impression.

It was a fun assignment for me because it’s right in line with what I do every day at my real job. It was also exactly the message that I needed to hear yesterday…. that what I do matters.

Maybe that’s the case for you, too?

Whether you leave home for a professional job every day or your work is in your living room with little ones, it matters. Raising children in your home or teaching them in a classroom, it matters. Creating on canvas with paints or your laptop with your words, it matters.

It’s easy to get swept up in the busyness and trappings of this life. They will leave you wondering if what you’re doing makes a difference to anyone at all. Let me tell you, it does.

What you do and who you are matters. Because there is a part of who God is that the world will only see through you.