Friday, February 16, 2024

Try Harder; Do Better

I grew up, as many young persons in my generation did, with a disorder called "Try Harder; Do Better." It seemed to be a chronic condition. 

There were things in my life that I just couldn't seem to get control of, behaviors and patterns that I seemed to get stuck in over and over and over again, no matter how many times I got in trouble for them or how often adults in my life would step in and tell me that I really needed to try harder, that I had to do better. 

As I became an adult, we found other understandings for these things, and the truth that I had known and wrestled with for my entire life became absolutely clear: it didn't matter how hard I tried, I was never going to do better. Some of these things are just the way God made me, and I'm here to tell you - they are still as true of me today at 39 years old as they were when I was merely 9. 

But I think a lot of us live our spiritual lives under the same diagnosis. We live in a perpetual state before God of "try harder; do better," as though if we could just put a little more effort into things, be more diligent about them, be more disciplined, pray harder, worship louder, whatever, then we could overcome whatever it is that we believe is holding us back. 

And most of us come to a point in our lives where we realize...that's just not working. 

Of course it's not. It wasn't meant to. 

That's what grace is for. 

That's what Communion reminds us of. 

Communion reminds us that we don't have to try harder and do better. That we're never going to get there on our own. That that's okay. That there's still a cup poured out for us, even right now. Even in our brokenness. Even in all of the things that we keep messing up and getting wrong, a thousand times over. That there's a body broken for us so that we don't have to live under all the pressure of try harder; do better. 

This Table isn't about trying harder. It isn't about doing better. It's about coming as you are and being thankful for what Christ has done, which is the hardest and the best thing to ever happen for you. 

So as the cup is poured and the bread broken, don't let yourself get caught up in thinking you're missing the mark. If you're here, right now, around this Table, you are right where you're supposed to be. And no amount of trying harder or doing better will change that one bit. 

No amount of try harder; do better will make grace any more or less amazing. 

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