A friend of mine committed to pray for me this year and asked for my prayer request. Since I’ve already been evaluating what my grace goals are for the new year (see below), her question helped solidify my answer.
The words to Psalm 46:10 immediately came to mind.
Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.
The dictionary defines striving as “making great efforts to achieve something; to exert oneself, to try hard, to do one’s best, to struggle.”
For some, striving towards a goal could be a good thing. But for me, just the sound of the word sounds tiring.
Striving. This year I want to cease striving. You see I have always wanted to do everything right in my life because I’m afraid of getting it wrong. So I strive to do my best.
I strive over things that are good. I strive when I’m doing something I feel God has led me to do because I want to represent Him well. I want to write Biblically sound posts. I don’t want to make any mistakes. And so I strive to be the best writer I can be. I strive to be the best mom I can be, the best wife. I strive to have a clean house with four kids under the age of 12!
When we strive to become better in our own efforts we often become weary and tired. We often feel discouraged at our lack of progress. When this happens to me, I often realize I’m trying to do things in my own strength.
My priorities may be unbalanced when I focus on the things I want to do instead of praying about what God wants me to do and how he wants me to do them.
God is telling me to cease! To stop! To put an end to striving!
Stop worrying! Stop fretting! Stop being afraid!
My best efforts can lead me to hyper-focus on one thing until my life becomes unbalanced.
Other versions of Psalm 46:10 say,
Be still, and know that I am God.
Instead of directing us what not to do, this version tells us what we should do. We should be still. Being still means being at rest. Having peace inside even when everything on the outside seems chaotic. It means having a deep sense of calm.
The next part of the verse says,
and know that He is God.
We can only be still and rest when we know, believe and trust in His power and control over our life.
Doesn’t that make you want to hand over the burden of control you carry that strives to be enough in every area of your life?
I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth.
I’m human. I’m going to mess up. I’m going to make mistakes. But I can rest in the fact that my mistakes will never mess up the glory of His name. Amen to that! God is going to be exalted among the nations. He will be exalted in the earth.
Every time I try to take back the reigns of control through worry and fear I’m going to calm my anxious heart and say to it, be still my soul. Cease striving and know that He is God. I already feel a sense of relief knowing that I can come to Him for rest.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)
May you find rest and peace for your soul in 2016!
In His Blessed Name,
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