Try Softer

by Andrea Kolber


Things that matter most should never be at the mercy of things that matter least.
— Goethe

This last week has been hard—like forgot if I brushed my teeth in the morning--kind of hard. And I couldn’t help but feel a bunch of feelings about that. As one who has ached for another baby, it felt wrong and a bit shameful to be in this place. But, as one who is also a consistent advocate for owning our experience, I also realize this is all part of the journey; every single gift has some difficult built in too. 

Lately, my husband and I have been reminiscing about our sweet Tia and some of the not so easy parts of when she was a baby. We remembered how challenging the weight of parenting felt. How we had also longed for her and then we were suddenly struck by the reality that parenting is the toughest, holiest thing we’d ever done.

It got me to thinking about my default, which is to be quite persistent. Once, when I was a high school basketball player, our local reporter called me tenacious. I adore this word. I love the idea of persistence and tenacity and what it embodies. But what I’ve noticed is there can be a shadow side to this gift. Sometimes I need to know when to walk away. Sometimes, as I’ve written about in the past—it’s not about leaning in harder, it’s about trying softer. It’s about recognizing if something isn’t working, we may need to re-assess how we’re doing what we’re doing.

And so I’ve come back to this idea again—partially, because I’m still getting it. I’m still figuring out how to practice presence and mindfulness and connection to my moments and people and Jesus, especially in a new season.

But today on this unseasonably warm February day, things seem crystal clear (for once), especially as it pertains to parenting. As I sit and drink my coffee by myself, for the first time in a long time, it seems to click. There are times to lean in, and there are times to back up. It's like a dance where we read the music and the rhythm. We notice and pay attention and occasionally we push to teach or explain or soothe our kiddo a bit more, and sometimes we say forget about it and go outside and do the silliest thing we can think of.

It's paying attention to the rhythm that matters. 

**

But how will I get anything get done? What if Jude never sleeps? Will Tia ever get a bath? Will I ever actually clean the house? What if? What if?

These are the types of questions that want to pop in my head. Frankly, they’re valid. But here’s where I continue to land: try softer.

We can’t ignore there are tasks to be done. Yes, bills must be paid. Yes, we need food. Yes. Yes. Yes.

But if we spend the best of ourselves on things that matter only a little, what will we have left for those things that matter much? What if, this is the exact space where the Lord meets us? What if this is what he means when he says it's not by power or might, but by (relying on) his spirit (Zechariah 4:6)?

I'm finding--again--in our spaces of surrender we have all the grace we’ll ever need.

Let's lean into that.

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How about you? Where are you finding you need to try softer?