When You Stop Trying So Hard

“Stop trying, relax, and just slip into the pose.”

There are Yoga poses that just don’t work well when you try to force your way into them. Then you just relax, especially your abs, and just ease into the pose.

Try this. No, really, try it. Stand up. Keeping your back as straight as possible, bend over and touch your toes (or shins, or knees, or thighs…).

Now back at the standing position, relax your mid-section. Consciously. Maybe think about bringing your belly button back to your spine. Now try it. Don’t force it. Just bend.

(Honestly, all this came to me last night when I was talking the class into one of those forward bend poses that seem to stretch everything.)

I’ve been spending a lot of time with Matthew 5, 6, 7. This includes the Sermon on the Mount. Remember how Jesus concludes? “Be perfect just as your Father is perfect.”

Now, think about the group of people Jesus continually sparred with–the Pharisees. How did they try to be “perfect just as your Father is perfect”? They tried…hard. They built rules on top of rules to explain how to live in every situation in every minute of every day. It was a full-time job just working hard to be perfect.

Then Jesus comes along. He reinterprets all the laws making them impossible to achieve. Then he says, be perfect. Hold on there, partner. Perfect? Impossible!

Yes, that’s the point. You don’t get to a relationship with God by your hard work at being perfect. Stop trying so hard. Relax. Then turn your attention to God and let God do the work.

Like Yogi Berra supposedly said, “You can hear a lot just by listening.” Just by slowing down and ceasing the impossible task of trying to be perfect, we open a space for God to actually come in. And, since our focus is off ourselves, now we can hear God. And respond.

And we’ll be perfect enough.

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