There’s a pervasive culture surrounding us, pushing us all to try so hard at everything. If we aren’t giving 1000% in allthethings, then we’ll fail, we’ll fall behind, we’ll never keep up with the masses. So, we work ourselves into the ground as we go a hundred miles a minute every day to reach some elusive bar that is set so high, I wonder if anyone really reaches it.

And I’ve realized I’m tired of trying so hard.

Of course, I always want to try hard at being a good mom, a good wife, a good daughter, sister, and friend. I want to try hard at giving generously and loving unconditionally. I try hard to be a good writer and neighbor, too. Those are areas in my life that are worth a deep and lasting investment of my time and energy because those are things that matter. 

But there are so many other things I spend way too much of my time and energy trying hard at and the outcome brings discouragement, depletion, and utter defeat. It’s about time I stopped trying so hard with those things that sabotage my worth and impede my growth. They only produce stress and strain and struggle—all of which hinder the other areas I dedicate my life toward improving.

I commit to not trying so hard to explain myself to those who don’t care to understand.

I’ll stop wasting all the energy I use and the anxiety I feel over trying to clarify who I am to people who don’t get me because no matter how much I try, their opinion of me will probably never change.

I will stop trying so hard to justify myself, rectify communication, or recover what’s lost because some relationships never grow with the growth of you. I’ll accept that I’ve done all that I can to explain who I am and that is enough . . . for me.

I’ll stop trying so hard to prove my worth when there’s nothing I need to prove.

Who I am and what I’ve been called to do may not be considered worthy to some, but it is worth everything to me. And I believe it is worth everything to God, too.

My work and my goals are valuable and make a difference in people’s lives, and no one else needs to understand that truth to make it valid or help me be fulfilled. It’s OK if people don’t see all that I do. My purpose is not for other’s approval and my worth is not swayed by the world. 

I’ll stop trying so hard to redeem my past and present mistakes.

I am flawed, I have failed, and as hard as I try, I will always be flawed and I will continue to fail. I must stop trying so hard to earn forgiveness from people who chose not to forgive. I need to let go of the shame and regret that stirs when I allow my history to replay over and over again because my past might be a part of my story but the rest of it gets so much better. I’m tired of carrying the weight of who I was on top of who I am today. I need to stop trying so hard to earn grace and rest in the truth that I am already redeemed by a loving and gracious God. 

I’ll stop trying so hard to be someone else.

Comparison can be slick and slimy, sliding its way into my thoughts, gently tearing little pieces of my identity apart as I find myself trying so hard to be someone I’m not. I know God created me with specific gifts and traits and experiences that have purpose, and my place in this world has nothing to do with anyone else’s. But sometimes, watching other people live their lives makes me wish I had what they have and I begin expecting the same for me, or worse, expecting the same from me. This results in a discouraging feat that fails every time. 

And lastly, I need to stop trying so hard to be productive all.the.time.

If everyone is trying harder to move faster to go further in this relentless race we call life, then there is certainly no time to rest. This is the age of nonstop output, getting ahead, and climbing to the top of whatever mountain you’re on. Pause for a second and you risk losing ground and keeping up with the proverbial motivation that everyone else seems to master. If I’m not going and doing and being productive, I feel useless, stalled, or God forbid, lazy. But I must make time for rest and recovery, relaxation and fun. I must create that sacred space in my life for refueling and restoration. If we don’t take care of our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health, then how will life ever be satisfying?

So, I’m done trying so hard to explain myself and prove my worth. I’m done trying so hard to redeem myself and be someone else. And I’m done doing too much because I want more to life than going and doing. 

And when I’m not consumed and exhausted with all this trying, I’ll have a lot more energy for those things in my life that matter most.

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Christine Carter

Christine Carter writes at TheMomCafe.com, where she hopes to encourage mothers everywhere through her humor, inspiration, and faith. Her work is published on several various online publications and she is the author of "Help and Hope While You're Healing: A woman's guide toward wellness while recovering from injury, surgery, or illness." and “Follow Jesus: A Christian Teen’s Guide to Navigating the Online World.” Both books sold on Amazon.