Faith / Life Lessons / Personal Struggles / Spiritual Bondage

Striving To Rest

I’m a list person.  A list person loves checking things off their “to do” list.  People like me love to set goals and then see them realized in real time.  What a sense of accomplishment, even if it just happens to be chores that need to be done around the house.  The very act of drawing a line through the item on my notepad gives me a rush that perhaps only a type “A” personality can really understand.  It’s all about goal setting and achievement, managing time and seeing results.

Photo: Karen Arnold
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I’ve applied this concept to almost every area of my life.  It helps me keep on track.  I suppose in a way, I have narrowed my life down to a formula of duty, performance and results.  However, several years ago when I became a Christian I had no idea that this valuable strength, which had served me so well in my career and personal life, would end up making me stumble in my spiritual walk with The Lord Jesus.

Sometimes when we get so focused on goals and performance it can start to become almost an addiction.  We can soon let our value and self-worth start to be defined by how much we achieve or how grandiose a title or position we hold.  Not to say that there is anything wrong with climbing the ladder at work or achieving and realizing dreams but when it starts to “define” who we are as a person, it can become a problem.

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Photo: Karen Arnold

When I started my journey with God I decided I would do what I had always done when I started a new venture:  set goals, perform and see results.  I began to go to church, get involved heavily in bible study classes and was reading scripture and taking valuable notes.  I started serving which resulted in more goals, more duties and more performance.  Pretty soon I started feeling less and less of a connection with God.  But I consoled myself, believing that I was “doing” all these things for The Lord, and this in turn, made me feel useful and valued.  My life seemed to have boiled down to a set routine religious duties and spiritual disciplines.  I knew that something was wrong but I had no idea what.  Then, it dawned on me, that I had been attacking my faith head-on like a scholar, like a pilot, methodically going through her checklist, my faith walk had become almost robotic and lifeless.  There was very little relationship with The Lord, primarily because all my time was filled with performing things “for Him”.

I began to see less and less fruit in my life.  The things I once looked forward to suddenly started feeling like work.  Joy began to seep out of my vessel and I became depressed.  The point being:  I had lost a connection with the head.  My spiritual life had become a formula to “please” God instead of a relationship with Him.

Public Domain Pictures.net
Photo: Karen Arnold

I felt Jesus was telling me to “get back to the basics”.  I stopped serving for a while and decided it was best to emulate Mary, who sat as Jesus’ feet to just listen.  I’m finally learning that I don’t have to “perform” for God to love me.  Sometimes we need to stop and ask ourselves:  Am I striving to “rest” in Christ or am I striving to be “busy” for God.  When I  made the decision to rest and just wait on Him, things got easier, less burdensome.  It was if God was telling me, “it’s O.K to just be”.

“Be still, and know that I am God,” (Psalm 46:10).  Maybe today you need to ask yourself the same.