Why Pushing Hard Isn’t Always Worth It

“Push.” We hear it everywhere. This simple word has become a mantra for how to get more out of life.

Push yourself at the office until you get the promotion.

Push yourself to create a Pinterest-worthy home.

Push yourself to do one more load of laundry, send one more email, do one more thing before bed.  

Push. Push. Push. It’s the drumbeat that drives our lives as we put one more thing on our already packed to-do list.

And it seems to work.After all, isn’t it the pushy entrepreneur who lands the big deal? Isn’t it the pushy mom who has the more accomplished kids with the prettier birthday parties? Doesn’t it seem that the pastor who’s always pushing his staff has the fastest growing church?

As much as we may run from pushy people and resent the pressure pushing places on our lives, it seems to get results. But at what cost?

Often the more we push our career forward, the more isolated and empty we feel. The more we push our kids to produce and achieve, the more resentful and distant they become. The more we push ourselves to serve in one more place, the more used up and exhausted we feel.

For all the ways that pushing propels us forward, it does so by draining our soul.It sucks the very life and vitality out of the things and people we love. And sooner or later, we find that it just isn’t worth it.

I’ve spent most of my life pushing myself toward what I thought would bring more happiness, more satisfaction, more purpose. But each time I’ve pushed myself beyond my limits, it has left my body ragged and my soul dry.

Today I find myself exhausted in a whole new way. The pressures of figuring out life as a first-time mom, navigating another football season as a coach’s wife, rebalancing work and life and family have taken a toll.  

And the pushing? It hasn’t helped me find balance. It hasn’t helped my little boy settled into a sleep schedule. It hasn’t bolstered my husband as he bears the expectations of a high school coach. Instead it has worn us out.

There’s a time and place to push. But when pushing becomes less about enduring a season and more about sustaining a lifestyle, we cease to find the rest God offers to the weary. We miss the satisfaction that comes from a simpler life. We overlook daily grace.

So today, let’s take inventory. Are we pushing because we’re in a hard season requiring endurance? Or are we pushing to get a little more out of life?

Let’s stop pushing and start taking life as it comesand for what it can teach us about dependence and grace. 

Amanda DeWitt is a freelance writer, coach's wife, and mom. She completed her bachelor’s at Dallas Baptist University and holds a M.A. in media and communication from Dallas Theological Seminary. When she's not typing away at her computer, she's chasing her two little boys or watching her husband coach high school football.