How do you know when you are racing ahead of God versus cooperating with God? Ever wondered if you were on the right path, doing what God wants you to do? In a job? In a relationship? With a goal or a dream? Have you ever thought “is this what I want or what God wants?’ Ever been consumed by worry that sent you on a frenzied quest to do more, be more, fix more, accomplish more, only to be left wondering if all your hard work had any merit at all?
One simple line from the Bible gives us insight into issues like these:
“Cease striving and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)
Notice it doesn’t say “cease working” or “cease praying” or “cease trying”. It says, “cease striving”. In other words, stop pushing and shoving to get your way. Stop manipulating and controlling to influence the outcome. Stop worrying and fretting. Stop pouting. Stop fighting. Stop striving.
That I am God. That I alone control outcomes. That I alone am sovereign. That I alone have all power.
So you don’t have to strive.
You can relax. You can breathe. You can focus. You can do what you’re supposed to do, and allow God to do what He’s supposed to do.
In the Hebrew text, “cease striving” literally means “to sink, relax, sink down, let drop,or be quiet”.
So stop your striving and sink down into God’s sovereignty like you’d sink into your favorite chair at the end of a long day. Curl up and rest in His power and love and care.
Psalm 46:10 has special meaning for me. Several years ago, before I had written my first book, my emotions were in a tizzy about all I needed to accomplish in order to see a book come to fruition. Honestly, I didn’t have a clue about what to do to write a book, much less how to do it. I just knew:
a. I wanted to write and
b. my panties were in a wad about it.
(For you spiritual types, here’s the translation: my soul was not at peace.)
One morning I opened my Bible, desperate for God. Before I began reading, I prayed “Lord, if you were sitting with me right now, what would you want to say to me today?” When my eyes hit the page, Psalm 46:10 pierced my heart. I knew it was a message straight from God to me. I had been striving-worried, stressed, and anxious. God wanted me to be still and know that HE is God.
So I took a deep breath and obeyed.
Interestingly, not long after that fateful morning, a book deal fell into place through events so effortless, only God could have orchestrated them.
Thursday morning at 7:30am I will hop on a plane to attend a conference where, once again, I’ll be discussing the potential of writing a book–book number two. But this time I’m not stressed. I’m not anxious. I’m not striving. I’ve learned not to run ahead of God, or try to shove a door open. I’ve learned to listen. I’ve learned to wait. I’ve learned to allow God to be God.
Have I planned and prayed and prepared and packed? You bet! But in the end, the one thing God wants me to know above all else is that He is God, and I am not.
It feels good to cease striving.
More than a Bible teacher, Donna is a self-described Bible explainer. A colorful storyteller who combines Biblical truth with real-life anecdotes, her messages not only help listeners understand God’s Word, but most important, grasp how to live it out in real life.