The Cure for the ‘Try Harder’ Mentality

TRY harder!

TRY to be the best!

Just TRY one more time!

All are worthy admonitions until they settle too deeply into the heart and mind and become slave-drivers and task-masters. So it was with me. The ‘try’ admonition that I became enslaved to was ‘TRY to be enough.’

Do you even know how impossible that is if we do it under our own steam?

TRY to get the best grades.

TRY to be thinner.

TRY to be the most popular.

TRY to have the most well-behaved children.

TRY to have the most followers, friends, and re-pins.

TRY to have the prettiest/largest/most well-decorated house.


I’m absolutely exhausted just thinking about it, yet it was my mantra for decades. You see, I’ve never felt like I was enough…at anything. So I would TRY harder. And do you know where that left me? Exhausted, frustrated, physically demolished, and spiritually dry. Because, y’all, you and I do not have the capacity to be enough at anything without the help of Jesus.

It is only when we cease our trying, rest in His accomplishment, and let Him live through us that we are enough. Enough in His eyes. Oh, the world may look at us and label us as ‘not enough,’ but not Jesus: not God.

Now when I recognize that I am into the try harder mode, I stop and tell myself that trying harder will not work. I also say, ‘Leah, you are enough because of Jesus Christ.’ In fact, I had a leather cuff made that I wear on my right wrist that says, “I am ENOUGH!”

God, through the prophet Isaiah, offered wisdom about this whole ‘try harder’ mentality for us in Isaiah 30:15:

This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel says:

“In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength….”

Nowhere in that verse does it tell us to ‘try harder.’ It tells us to rest in the Lord; trust in Him. That is where we will find our strength and our ‘enough-ness.’

So, beautiful friend, when you feel like you must try harder to be something that the culture says you should be, throw up a stop sign, settle into the arms of God, and tell yourself that you are enough in Christ.

Leah Adams

Although I asked Jesus to come into my heart at the age of 15, I describe myself as the “prodigal son’s sister” after spending several years walking far from the Lord in my twenties. Helping others understand the grace that is offered by Jesus to anyone who will accept it is the passion of my heart. In a works-based and failure-prone society, grace is a concept that many people have difficulty grasping and my speaking and writing ministry seeks to point others straight to Jesus and his amazing grace. I live in northern Georgia with my husband, Greg, who is also my dentist. I hold a Doctor of Pharmacy Degree from Mercer University School of Pharmacy. I am also a CLASS certified speaker and the author of one devotional book and three Bible studies. Please visit me at

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