When was the last time someone told you, “You’re trying too hard” or ‘You’re over-thinking that”? Perplexing, isn’t it? We were taught way back in Kindergarten “Good, better, best. Never let it rest, until your good is better and your better is its best.” Right? Remember? Getting to best means hard work; it means effort. How many hours have I poured over completing a project (writing, baking, sewing) only to get to the end and find a glaring flaw. Was I trying too hard? What about working diligently on a 2 hour task and 6 hours later, it’s finally done. Was I too focused? Was I over-thinking? We’ve come to the end of some major sports seasons. Football, basketball, hockey and in all cases there were winners and losers. Did the winners have just the right balance in their style that catapulted them to the winner’s circle? Did he losers try too hard to be the winners? It’s complicated, isn’t it?
Here’s something to think about for Friday. Be yourself – even if that means trying just a little harder than your neighbor. I think of a phrase Paul used often about running the race ahead of him. One in Galatians 2:2. I think he was, at that time, in the presence of skeptics who had not quite accepted him yet. He said “I wanted to be sure I was not running and had not been running my race in vain.” If you know the Apostle Paul, not personally, of course, but if you know of him, you know he did everything with great fervency. He was self-disciplined and let’s just say he tried harder than most. Look at 1 Corinthians 9:24 “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.” And what about Hebrews 12:1 “Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us”
I think often about the Apostle Paul and his analogies portraying athletes and their endurance in the game of life. How often do we say life is a contact sport. Right? And in this life, no matter what it brings, we are in it to win it. Over-thinking – maybe at times. Trying too hard? That too.
We might start this Friday filled with great anticipation only to encounter little earthquakes that shake us up. Right then – stop. Remind yourself of Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” I also helps to remember that there is no such thing as perfect. Perfect is just a word, it’s not a state of being. So let’s not expect perfect but let’s expect to be so persuasive in our thoughts that our hearts and attitudes catch up. Over-thinking? What we think eventually gets to our emotions. We choose. Better or bitter. Sunny or cloudy. Peace or conflict. Joy or ….. Psalm 5:11 “But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.” Choose joy. It’s the better deal.