Cease From Striving

Here we go again…I really didn’t think I was so stubborn.  It appears that there’s more to the lesson of not being self-sufficient than I thought.

For more than 2 years, God has been teaching me that He is all I need, breaking me from my pride because I believe I can do life by myself, and to lean on Him. I always think I’m doing a decent job, but then God says to me that I’m close, but technically, I still don’t get it. One of the many things I love about Him is that He’s patient and gentle.  He’s taking a lot of time to strip me of my independence.

Well, a member of my church posted something on Facebook out of his/her devotion & to pray about what Jesus is saying to us. I don’t know who did it, but I must thank you. As you read it, I’m sure you will see why:

“Trust Me enough to let things happen without striving to predict or control them.  Relax, and refresh yourself in My everlasting love. My love never dims, yet you’re often unaware of My radiant presence. When you project yourself into the future, rehearsing what you will do or say, you’re seeking to be self sufficient; to be adequate without My help…

The alternative is to live fully in the present, depending on Me each moment. Rather than fearing your inadequacy, rejoice in My abundant supply. Train your mind to seek My help continually even when you feel competent to handle something by yourself.  Don’t divide your life into things you can do by yourself and things that require My help.  Instead learn to rely on Me in every situation.  This discipline will enable you to enjoy life more and to face each day confidently.”  Psalm 37:3-6, Phil. 4:19.

Then I read Psalm 37:3-6, which I already had highlighted: “Trust in the Lord, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.”

Philippians 4:19: “And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

I read the devotion and I had a light bulb moment.  I’m so unbelievably guilty of that!  I often lose sleep because my brain loves to go into the mode of, “projecting [myself] into the future, rehearsing what [I] will do or say…” It actually drives me crazy.  As you can see, God has found a way to tie two lessons into one: cease from striving and getting rid of self-sufficiency. Geez. The lesson makes complete sense, though. I’ve always thought I could do anything, and only when it got too hard did I think, “Hey, maybe I should ask God what he can do in this situation.”  Recently, I’m relearning to seek Him first, of course, and that’s the obvious part. The trickier part for me has been the rehearsing and not asking for help when I’m feeling confident/competent to do whatever it is.

I had NO idea that “rehearsing” is another form of seeking to be self-reliant.  You’ve got to be joking.  I’ve done that about a million times.  Oops.  Good thing God loves me so much… seriously.

Law school trained me to be constantly busy.  It has taken me SOOOO long to break this habit. I used to feel guilty about taking time off to relax, which sounds silly to me now. I also have a fear of “unprepardness.” For example, when I was in school, I was always afraid of pop-quizzes.  I studied a lot, but I hated those because I wouldn’t always perform well. Since life is always full of surprises, I got used to waiting for the next one.

I grew up believing in “if a man fails to plan, he plans to fail,” because I was afraid that if I didn’t have a plan, all heck would break loose and it would be my fault. As a believer in Christ, that’s a stupid mindset to have because it’s not entirely true. We need to be responsible for our relationships, finances, jobs, you know the things that God has given us. However, we are not in control. We can plan all we want, but God likes to change those on us for all kinds of reasons. Hence the quote:  “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.”  So, for the last few years I’ve had a recurring dream:

I am in either English or Math class.  I rushed to class and the homework is due, or we have a test. I get mad at myself because time after time, I know that I either didn’t write down the homework assignment or I had it and never looked over it.

I found the dream odd because it never happened in real life. English and Math were also my best subjects. So, what’s the deal?  Well as God has been teaching me stuff, this dream has started to change some.  A few weeks ago, I dreamed the above scenario, but this time it had an ending. My teacher found out that I didn’t do a homework, and it turned out to be no big deal. I woke up and immediately thought: “okay, I’m getting somewhere with this lesson.”  I also haven’t had the dream since. (I used to have it about twice a week.) Well, it pops up once in a while if I’ve slipped back into my old habits.

This dream deals with my fear of lack of being prepared/not having a plan for every life situation, which makes sense because I have a habit of “rehearsing.” So, I believe God is speaking to me right now: “Please stop doing this to yourself. I will provide for all your needs.”  I copied the quote and put it on my phone for me to read everyday. I hope this post encourages you, just like it has left me undone in His presence & at peace.

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