After what do I strive, God?
This prayer settled in my mind as my morning time with God came to a close.
The answers came in my next breath. Of course, I knew what I strived after. They were my constant companions.
~To rest in You, God.
~Be at peace knowing that You have us and all will be well.
~To be joyful in You no matter what is going on.
~To know I’m doing my best at what You’ve given me to do and I’m not falling short.
These four statements sum up my adult journey with God. Everything I’ve been through in my life—
- every struggle I’ve experienced,
- every angst that has kept me awake at night,
- every self-doubt,
- every God-doubt,
has began because I strived after one of these four statements.
I have wrestled with God asking for answers, asking for proof that He was in control of my life, that He was active in my life—especially when I could not see Him or evidence of His work, wanting His answers and intervention now or at least by tomorrow. I wanted a notarized letter, please, God, telling me “It will all be ok.” I wanted to get up from my morning time with God a changed person because of what I had just read or heard from the Lord. I wanted this change to cause my face to glow (kinda, but not really) like Moses’ did when he came down from his time with God on the mountain.
Then the thought came—What if I stopped striving? What is keeping me striving? Why am I not this very minute, this very day,
~Resting in God?
~Being at peace because I know that He has us and all will be well?
~Joyful in my relationship with God no matter what is going on?
~Trusting that I am doing my best and not falling short?
What is holding me back from experiencing “life abundant” that Jesus promised in John 10:10?
Because (are you ready for this?). . .
I wanted to stay in control of my life. If I
- Stopped striving,
- Rested in God,
- Accepted His peace because He does have us and all will be well,
- Moved forward in joy in my relationship with God,
- Rested in the fact that I am doing my best for Him no matter what other moms, wives, authors, speakers are doing,
if I did all these things, I would have to give up control and leave my
I would need to lay it all in His hands and step away and focus only on His face. Because when I focus only on God everything else is taken care of.
Brother Lawrence lived this way. One of his monk friends wrote about him the following, “The high notion which he had of God revealed in his heart a perfect picture of his Creator in all His Sovereign Justice and Infinite Mercy. Resting on this he was assured that God would never deceive him, and would send such things only as were good for him.”*
To live as Brother Lawrence described would be a pretty bold move. What kind of woman hands over her questions, angst, self-doubts, God-doubts, fears, family, future, everything to God without leaving Him directions on how to handle it and the outcomes she knows would be best?
A living brave woman, that’s who.
It doesn’t mean we don’t care, we don’t pray, we aren’t involved. It does mean we, like Brother Lawrence, rest because we are “assured that God would never deceive [us]” and “would send such things only as were good for [us].”
Unfortunately resting in God is not a one-time-fixes-all action. We must continually come to God. In John 15 Jesus describes this journey of faith as abiding in Him. We need to moment by moment take our thoughts back to God, even breathing prayers of what we need, thank you’s, praise of Who God is, or just enjoying His attention/presence. It’s a way of life.
It takes me back to Be the Tree.
We will never perfect this kind of life while on this earth. Even the apostle Paul struggled (Romans 7:15-25) with doing what he didn’t want to do. But this struggle keeps us reliant on God—exactly where He wants us. This is the only place where we can be fruitful for Him—doing what He made us to do and being who He made us to be.
What about you? Are you brave enough to ask God, “After what do I strive?” Are you brave enough to trust Him with whatever He shows you? Will you join me in a moment-by-moment journey to rest and trust in God?
The Practice of the Presence of God, Brother Lawrence, page 95-96.
Brenda Garrison is an author and speaker who empowers women with the confidence to live their calling. Brenda is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Ministry Leadership with a Concentration in Women’s Ministry at Moody Bible Institute. She and her husband, Gene, are the parents of three young adult daughters and live near Metamora, IL.