“Cease striving and know that I am God;”-Psalm 46:10
If you’re like me, your brain just blew up. You can’t even imagine in your wildest dreams, which really you wouldn’t even dream about because it’s a nightmare, to cease striving. Striving is what you do! Doing is what you strive to do! Welcome to The Sisterhood of Striving.
Here’s how dictionary.com defines striving and I know, for all of my sisters strivers, you’ll actually get excited when you read these words:
- Exert oneself vigorously; try hard;
- Make strenuous efforts toward any goal;
- Contend in opposition, battle, or any conflict; compete
- Struggle vigorously, as in opposition or resistance
Oh man, can I just be super honest and say that I read these words and my head says, “Uh ya, isn’t this how we’re supposed to live??” Don’t you get excited at the idea of vigorously exerting yourself in strenuous efforts, through battle or conflict, demolishing resistance to accomplish a goal?!? As a doer, I say sign me up! Life is one big mud run and I want to be the muddiest, grossest, dirtiest person arriving within the top 5 over the finish line either establishing a solid baseline for future runs or beating my last time by no less than 60 seconds. (Oh ya, I speak your language Sisters!)
Some of you have just read the above and so deeply related that you’re wondering how I know you so well since it’s likely I’ve never met you. You’re also wondering what on earth could be the point of this blog. To you I say, sit down because I’m about to drop a bomb on your life that comes straight from God’s Word to your heart.
“Stop striving”, God said. Breathe. Rock in your chair. Hold a stone in your hand. Do whatever you need to do to gain some peace because when you, my sister striver, hear words like “stop striving” your heart pounds wildly and I’m betting the very first question you have is, “But what would I do?” And the answer is, “Be”.
There are a ton of dangers in being a doer and here’s just a few: you forget that God is in control, not you; you wear yourself out; you try to earn God’s love which is absolutely futile and impossible. Striving won’t bring me one iota closer to God ever, but it will take me away from Him. Striving is about me and what I can do and how much God will love when I do whatever I’ve decided is important. The desire behind striving isn’t bad, pleasing God, the core of the idea is bad because it’s impossible to please God by any other means than being present in His grace and being obedient.
Ah…obedience…there’s something I can do! Here’s the catch with this whole stop striving thing: you must stop striving in order to be present with God and then once you’re present with God, He’ll activate you and send you out. So now you’re probably thinking, “But wait! If I’m going to end up doing something, why can’t I just DO that now?” Obedience. Obedience to God’s Word which is inviting you to a place of being. If you can’t be with God, you can’t serve God because you’ll never hear God over the noise of what you’re doing for God without His leadership. Did you get that? If you can’t rest in God and just be in His presence, you’ll never serve Him the way He created you to serve because you’ll never sit still long enough to hear His voice.
God is plenty big enough to get all of the work of the world done without you. Sorry, but that is a truth. It isn’t meant to make you feel unimportant, it’s meant to make you feel less responsible for the world because let’s face it, you aren’t and God is. In the verses prior to Psalm 46:10, God describes all that He is able to do and let me tell you, none of it are you or I able to do. I believe He shows us His power and ability in these verses in order to make the notion of our ceasing to strive easier. Being, for a doer, is a massive act of faith. You have to believe that God is more able than you and that is a core belief change for many of us. So, don’t think you’ll “do” this thing called being with a checklist or a five-step plan because you won’t. Ceasing to strive will be a slowly and likely painful process where you moment-by-moment give your life over to the God who loves you more and is able to do so much more than you can even fathom. So don’t set a timeline to achieve being, it’s not possible.
Right now, pray and ask God to help you see the next step for ceasing to strive. He wants you to know Him and that He is God and I know He’s going to be jumping up and down with joy when you invite Him into your life in this way. This is a process and it is most likely a slow process so be kind to yourself and remember that God’s grace is covering you.
If you need prayer support from a sister striver, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.