24 Apr Reflection: Try Softer
I was born makulit or to use a better more professional word, I was born persistent. In other words, I don’t stop until I get what I want and also at the same time, I don’t really allow things to settle down (this may be the reason why I’m not such a good cook). I like to know everything that’s within my area of responsibility because I want to be prepared for all things.
Which safe to say is totally blasé when walking with Jesus because most of the time, the plan is never known until it’s right in front of you and even then, there would still be questions – lots of them.
Another quirky (okay, probably annoying) trait of mine is my need to “mother” (the little ones before that was not placed there for a purpose) so you see I basically suck at ‘mind games’ simply because I don’t believe in playing games with anyone. If I want to talk to you, I will make an effort to do so. However, I’m guessing that’s not the way the world works and not many people appreciate it, unfortunately.
What I have come to realize however is that it is not in my position to actually care as to whether or not it is appreciated. I have come to realize that the reason why I am disappointed about specific things is because I had placed (unrealistic) expectations when it came to approaching a person or a situation.
What I learned from reading John Ortberg’s book is not that we try extra harder to be liked but instead try softer. By trying softer, it means we do the best we can with the situation, we go ahead with what we think is right based on the Word and surrender the outcome to Jesus.
“As a general rule, the harder you work to control things, the more you lose control.”
In a way, it also has a lot to do with confidence. To get up everyday and encounter different people on a daily basis takes a lot of courage and this courage could only result from our confidence.
Is our confidence based on our looks, which can go away just by sitting through eight bars of chocolates a day? Or is it based on our job, which really is basically placing our fate in another human being’s hand? Or is it based on the goodness of God in our lives, which we can never lose no matter how bad we become?
Your guess is as good as mine.
As we try softer and try not to control everything around us, we realize that we don’t need to “push the river” so to speak because we know that the flow of the river is not dependent on us but entirely dependent on the One who created us. (Inspired by a quote of Richard Rohr that said “Faith does not need to push the river, faith is able to trust that there is a river)
When we try softer and when we become less rigid, we understand that we do need help from Someone higher than us to make sense of our lives.
We don’t try to analyze everything in our lives and the reason why specific people are not in it (guilty), instead we realize that it is not up to us to decide who gets to be in our lives because no matter how hard we try, people who are not ordained to be in your life will not be in it. It also places less pressure on us to try and ‘perform’ all the time.
Instead, it leaves a whole lot of room for trust and a lot of room spent in prayer because we understand that no matter how hard we try, if it is not God’s will for us it will not happen.
“The harder you cling to people, the more apt they are to push you away.”
As we give ourselves a little break, we often give the people around us a break as well. When we’re not out to control every single thing in our lives we give people more room to be who they are and most importantly, we allow God to do whatever He wills to do in our lives.
And when that happens, we can rest happily at night because we are not slaving away for something that is obviously not ours to have. You see when something is meant to be, whether it is a relationship or a job, we don’t slave away nor do we work so hard to earn it. Whatever God has gifted us with simply flows and even if we’re extremely hard at work at it, it doesn’t feel like work because it feels so natural.
We don’t have to fight so hard for something that is meant for us. Yes, we take the steps necessary and most of the time those steps require a lot of faith and a lot of courage but we don’t even think twice about it because it feels so right. It feels like a gift and by all means do we go after it with so much joy in our hearts.
“For deeper change, I need a greater power than simply ‘trying harder'”.
That’s what Jesus meant when He said He had a good life for us and I may be speaking to myself as I end this entry, but Jesus said that He has loved us enough and has given us all things so we shouldn’t slave away or hurt ourselves unnecessarily over people and things that were no meant to be in our lives in the first place. That we don’t have to try so hard to be liked because the right ones would like you even before you had your first conversation.
And this applies to all the areas of our lives.
So tonight, simply let it all go and try softer. Spend more time with Jesus instead of driving yourself crazy over something that you had no control over in the first place.
And yes, sometimes surrendering it to Jesus means letting go of a dream, one that we held so closely in our hearts, but understand that as long as you’re with Jesus, you are never short changed and you never get the shorter end of the stick.
As long as you’re with Him, you always ending up winning.