There is No Try
“Do or do not. There is no try.” I’m not even a huge Star Wars fan and I know this famous line spoken by Yoda. I’ve often wanted to repeat it to people I’ve counseled who claim, “Oh, I’ve tried that. It didn’t work.” And then I’ve also had the need to say it to myself when I’ve caught myself whining things similar.
There are many stubborn things in our lives – habits, mindsets, sins, thinking patterns – that are simply not going to budge with a “try.” There are many glorious things in our lives – accomplishments, dreams, inner health and outer health – that are simply not going to materialize with a “try.”
There are things at both ends of that spectrum – the things I want to get rid of and the things I want to reach – that I am grappling with. I’m sure your life is similar. And I have a keen awareness that my level of persistence will determine my level of success. It will not be a matter of trying a new key and finding it was the secret I was looking for. It will be a matter of using the same tool and chipping away until freedom and breakthrough are realized.
This gives me hope on one hand: I don’t need to keep searching for answers, I need to apply the wisdom that has already been given. On the other hand, consistency is so much harder than half-hearted attempts and hope for magic wands to make the wishes come true. But really, is there anything harder than the letdown that comes from inconsistency?
I love efficiency. The Hubs and my kids will tell you, when I work at something, I do it in the most efficient and quick way I can – whether it’s running errands or tidying the house. So this whole idea of doing the same thing over and over until it finally works is a bit of torture to me. If my little chisel tool is taking too long, I’ll get a bigger chisel and a hammer!
That’s why I’m so impressed by the Israelites and wonder: Why did the Israelites have to march around Jericho once for six days and seven on the seventh day? Why couldn’t they simply walk around once, blow the trumpets, shout and watch the walls fall? It’s not like the marching was actually doing anything to the walls; it wasn’t the vibration of their feet that caused the walls to tumble. So why couldn’t it be a one and done operation?
Perhaps it wasn’t so much about what was happening in the physical, but in the spiritual. Perhaps it was much more about the need for the Israelites (and, indeed, for us) to see nothing progress in the natural and still get up the next day to do it all again. Perhaps trusting tenacity, the digging deep into the “Thus saith the Lord,” is what was built as the walls awaited their collapse.
When the Lord calls us to keep trying, to not see the breakthrough with the immediacy our hearts had imagined and yet to persist, we are edified, built up and strengthened. We also see just how much of a partnership this walk with the Lord is. Sure, the Lord could wave His pinkie finger and everything could break through for us, but He chooses to work with and through human beings.
Take courage, dear Friend. Your persistence will pay off. Your persistence will bring a breakthrough. Your persistence is doing a work in you. Trust is built in times when trust seems unreasonable. Wake up again tomorrow and do it all over again, because, after all: “Do or do not. There is no try.”
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9