Resting or Striving?


I am a person that loves to rest.  I love taking bubble baths and naps and curling up with a book on the couch.  I recently took a long break from several undertakings to rest and do some healthy self-evaluation.  I am realizing though that just because I’m not doing anything doesn’t mean I’m truly at rest.  I have realized a tendency that I have.  Generally speaking, when I force myself to slow down, my mind kicks into overdrive.  I worry.  I stress.  I freak out.  I start planning and plotting ten steps ahead.  I analyze possibilities, scenarios and contingency plans.  I may be at rest physically, but mentally and emotionally I am fidgety and restless. I am guilty of always being in a rush.  I feel if a situation isn’t coming together, it’s my responsibility to fix it.  If something is broken, just pass the duct tape and I’ll try to mend it.  If something lacks resolution, I feel it is my job to resolve it and if something is in process, I’ll try to rush the outcome.

I have been guilty of feeling the need to respond to circumstances and people right away, without taking the time necessary to really hear from God and to act in accordance with His timing.  God isn’t in a rush and He isn’t under pressure.  God is teaching me that His desire is that I would always act out of a place of rest, peace and confidence in Him, and never out of a sense of pressure or striving.  This means learning what it truly means to rest, to lay down every burden physical, mental and emotional.  It means learning to take the pressure off myself and to lean on Him.  It means accepting the fact that God reveals His plan and His purposes one day at a time and despite all our striving and futile attempts to figure all this out, we will never be successful in figuring out God’s plans one second sooner than He intends for us to.  We need to shift our focus from analyzing, fixing and planning to simply loving Him with all of our hearts, minds and souls.  Any energy we spend should be spent seeking Him with our whole selves.  God is good and He can be trusted.  He won’t leave us in the dark.

We will have so much more joy in all of this, if we learn to relax in the process.  Anywhere in our lives where we feel stressed, confused, or frustrated, is an area of our lives where we are striving and haven’t surrendered to God’s control.  Let it go.

I am have made the choice to allow myself rest.  I am giving myself permission to take the pressure off and to submit to God’s will and ways.  If God isn’t stressed out or in a rush, why am I?  I am asking God in this season to train my eyes and my ears to recognize at a greater level the way He speaks and He leads, so that when this season shifts I’ll be led by the peace of the Holy Spirit, rather than by my own unrealistic expectations and limited strength.

As the Psalmist writes:

The Lord is my shepherd.  I have all that I need.  He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams.  He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to His name. (Ps. 23:1-3)

Photo Credit