Don’t Try {So Hard}

The other day, I heard Amy Grant’s new song, Don’t Try So Hard. It really spoke to me. In fact, her whole album (How Mercy Looks From Here)blessed me. It’s encouraging to hear someone else talk about how God is teaching them what it means to follow Him.  I loved the way Amy wrote about trying to please others:

Do you remember how the summers felt when we were kids
Oh we didn’t think much about it,
we just lived
Taking our time,
beautiful leisure
When did we start,
trying to measure up
And all this time, 
love has been trying to tell us

Don’t try so hard
God gives you grace and you can’t earn it
Don’t think that you’re not worth it

I don’t know about you, but I really don’t like to disappoint others. I think most of us are wired that way. I rarely meet a mom who is not an overachiever on some level. We all want to be the best mothers we can be. We want the best for our kids. We want to be the wife our husband dreamed of.

Several weeks ago, I had the privilege of meeting a mother of ten while speaking in the midwest.

She felt like a failure.  “Turns out, ” she said, “that the number of kids we have doesn’t equal godliness. Someone told me it did.”  We tried so hard to “do it right,”  she said.

It wasn’t that she was unhappy that they had ten children, either — it was just that years of trying to meet someone else’s expectation for her family had left her with very little margin in her life.

And, as it turned out, following someone else’s idea for what her family was supposed to look like was exhausting.

I know how that feels.

As a recovering people-pleaser, I could relate to her. We cried a little, standing in that hotel lobby.

We try so hard to “get it right…”

Dress like this. Eat like that. Listen to this. Don’t listen to that. Right way. Wrong way. My way… your way. 

It’s hard pleasing people.

Thank God, we don’t have to.

We just need to please the Lord.

In Galatians 1:10, we read, “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

Am I seeking the approval of God or man? It’s a good question, isn’t it?


Matthew 11:29 (NIV)

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Jesus gives us just three imperatives about how to do this thing called life:

  1. Come to Me. (Pray.)
  2. Take My yoke.  (Carry the yoke God has designed
  3. Learn from Me. (Read the Bible, busy mom. God wants to speak to you.)

No need to keep up with the Joneses. No need to meet anyone else’s expectations.

Don’t try so hard.

God gives us grace for each day. We can’t earn it.

There is joy that comes from pleasing our heavenly Father.  It brings peace–and freedom. A freedom that comes from knowing that we’ve asked the Lord to direct our path. It makes everyone else’s path pale in comparison!

Spend time in God’s word, busy mom!  Seek Him every day.

Then, take His yoke. He wants to carry it with you.

Don’t try so hard.

Lean in. Press on. Live in freedom.

You are loved.



Heidi St John Guide to Daylight

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Heidi St. John
Heidi St. John has been married to her husband Jay since 1989. Together they have seven children from toddler to adult and have homeschooled all the way through high school. A favorite conference and radio speaker, Heidi approaches marriage and parenting with humor and grace. Her passion to encourage moms and set them free to be who God has created them to be will bless and encourage you.
Heidi St. John
Heidi St. John
Heidi St. John

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14 Responses to Don’t Try {So Hard}

  1. Maya Andersen says:

    I just get engouraged by Tour writing, thoughs and godly Wisconsin, thanks all the Way from Denmark 😉
    Love, Maya

    • Amy Morehead says:

      Thank You so much for this. You have blessed my heart. GOD has used you so much to help me. I also love the Amy Grant song “Don’t Try So Hard”. She is such a lovely woman. I can’t listen to the song without crying, especailly the part about being lovely even with your scars… wow !! Thank You Heidi ,God Bless You,thank You from the bottom of my heart ~ amy

  2. Angela says:

    Well said Heidi!

  3. Maya Andersen says:

    Oh my the spelling on the iPad is a challeng…
    Sorry…. I get engouraged by your writing… And godly wisdom….

  4. Jennifer says:

    Thank you!!! : )

  5. Heather says:

    Amen! What matters is pursuing Him and doing only what HE has asked us to do…

  6. Michelle Sweers says:

    What a great reminder. Needed this today!!

  7. Rhea says:

    I so needed to read this today!!! Thanks for listening to God and his leading you to write this.

  8. Rose says:

    Thank you for the encouraging words!

  9. kimberly says:

    These words are comforting to the soul….. Thank you for taking the time to share them.

  10. Heather says:

    Thank you for the timely reminder. I find it so easy to think I don’t have time to read my Bible, but I forget that God and His Word are my source of life.

  11. Stacie says:

    I’m a recovering people-pleaser, too. Something about my first-born self!

    After our meeting, the girls kept singing that song (well, the only words they know…”Don’t try so hard.”)

  12. Sarah says:

    I had never heard of Amy Grant’s song until I read your post on FB. Then, today as I was driving home from church, it came on the radio! Maybe the Lord is trying to tell me something! :)

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