Do You Have to Try So Hard?

I’m doing absolutely nothing to keep it alive.

I don’t water it. I don’t fertilize it. I don’t add extra soil in the spring.

Yet the lantana by my mailbox doesn’t care. By spring each year, it starts all over with fresh green growth. The intricate yellow blooms show up shortly thereafter and remain prolific all summer long.

I like things that bloom without me having to force them.

I need to remember that about myself as well.

When life gets hard, I hunker down inside my head. I try to understand all the details of what’s happening. I journal more. I make lists of new practices to try.

And those things do help.

Outward things help, too. I talk with faithful friends. I read books by experts. I listen to inspiring music.

But the hardest thing for me to add in?


While taking responsibility for ourselves and working hard IS essential and 100% valuable, we don’t always have to push ourselves quite so hard.

This week’s memory verse is encouraging me to not feel so compelled to work, work, work, as I think of the lantana flowers in my front yard.

“Yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”
Matthew 6:29

For context, Jesus had just said that the lilies of the field don’t have to toil or spin (Matthew 6:28), yet, wow, aren’t they beautiful?

If that’s a flower, how much more a human?

So I want to do a little less toiling and spinning this summer. And a little more trusting that Love can bloom around me and in me without my constant effort to make it happen. The love of God is foundational, with or without my push.

Maybe my lantana would be even more bountiful if I took more time tending it. I do pull weeds occasionally and prune it back when it begins taking over the driveway. Small acts of care.

But that’s enough. Its beauty returns year after year just the same.

Perhaps that’s the same with us, too. With love all around us and in us, maybe we don’t have to try so hard either.

And trust the beauty to return year after year just the same.

Share your thoughts in the comments.

Read more musings on Matthew 6:

6 thoughts on “Do You Have to Try So Hard?

  1. Paula Short

    Lisa, I love your insights and encouragement here. You talked about many aspects that are typical of me—joining you by less toiling and spinning this summer.
    Visiting today from Joanne’s.

  2. Pam Ecrement

    I think we tend to have struggles with balance in so many areas of life and yet if we look at the universe or our own body systems, things work well if they are in balance and alignment as God designed them. Good observations of those of us who tend to be hard on ourselves and tempted to live closer to law than grace.

    Thanks, Lisa💕

  3. Jean Wise

    Such a good reminder. Often I feel like I am striving so hard – so hard to be good, to learn, to be better – when God already created me good. Hard habit to break.

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