PennDel Women of Purpose | Cease Striving
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Cease Striving

I really like getting things done. Checking the tasks off of my to-do list is a driving force in my life. I don’t know if I should admit this, but sometimes my husband will let me cross off the tasks on his to-do list just because I like it so much. In the moment, these accomplishments are so satisfying, but I will often reach the end of a productive day wishing I had done more or feeling like the day was empty. This doesn’t seem to make sense. Yet, there is an aching within me that tells me I am made for more than getting things done.



In the beginning of June, I traveled with my husband to the beach where we would meet up with my family to stay for the week. I was so looking forward to this time away. I had committed to not doing any work while at the beach, whether it was for my job or school. The thought of taking a break from these responsibilities was a challenge for me, but the reality of it was amazing! I was able to completely relax and enjoy the time away.



While at the beach, I found myself waking up earlier than usual, but I was okay with it. I took that time to be with God and enjoy the beautiful scenery around me. I was unhurried and had no agenda to keep. I literally had no tasks to check off a list, yet I was utterly enjoying myself. I felt closer to God, and I noticed myself falling more in love with my hubby.



When I returned home, I soon jumped back into the to-do mindset. I was back to crossing things off my to-do list and being driven by it. It felt so empty and I longed to return to the carefree beach vacation. I took some time to reflect on this dilemma. I wondered what the real difference was between here and there. Was it just the difference in responsibilities or was there something deeper? After some thought, I realized that at the beach, I could just “be” and that was enough. My love for God wasn’t driven by what I needed from him. The time with God was all about getting to know him better. Similarly, the time with my husband didn’t involve us discussing responsibilities. We simply got to be together.



Could this just being together be brought home with me?



Life seems to move so fast. It can sometimes feel like an endless task list causing our minds to be overwhelmed, distracted, and tired. There is always more to do. The to-do mentality even makes its way into our relationship with God, and we can find ourselves striving to earn his love. But God’s Word says:



“Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” – Psalm 46:10 (NASB)



His word literally commands us to cease striving – take a break, rest, surrender. There will always be more to do, but God wants to spend time with us with no agenda other than to be with him.



Mark 3:14 (NIV) says, “He appointed twelve that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach.”



To be with God is to build our relationship with him. These are the moments that we grow in our love for God and his ways. These are the moments that he can transform us by the power of his Holy Spirit.



I am so thankful for the timely vacation that my family took. If it weren’t for this, I may have continued down the same exhausting and ultimately, unfulfilling path. This is exactly what God does – he intercepts us and gets us back on track. He has redirected me countless times in my life. I know he will do the same for you, and I hope that by reading this you will find the courage to just be with God. Set some time aside and allow God to reveal himself to you in a fresh way. Leave your agenda behind and ask God to reinvigorate your relationship with him.



It’s so important that we also take time for our families, friends, co-workers, etc. Too often I have sacrificed building a relationship for the sake of accomplishing a task. Let’s also ask God to help us value the people in our lives.



It’s easy to set aside time on a vacation, but how do we incorporate this rest into our daily lives? I believe it comes down to how much we trust God. When we are constantly striving, we are relying on our own strength and abilities. When we take time to be with God, we are acknowledging that we trust in him, and rely on his strength and wisdom. This isn’t something that will happen automatically. When we do take the time to be with God, our minds can be easily distracted and we can become frustrated. Don’t give up (this is exactly what the enemy wants us to do)! It takes discipline to learn to shift our focus from our responsibilities to a state of resting in God. Let’s pray that God would help us!



Dear Jesus, I thank you for your rest. I thank you for your love for me and that you just want to be with me. I confess the pride in my life that keeps me striving and distracted from you. I know that I need you Lord. Please help me to shift my focus from responsibilities to a state of resting in you. I trust you with my life, family, and to-dos. Amen.  


Emily Harbold
Emily Harbold

Emily is a speaker, writer, and teacher who is currently studying to receive her ministerial credentials. She is passionate about seeking after Jesus and leading others to do the same. At her church, she serves alongside her husband in the Young Adults Ministry. Emily is also the founder of Full Light Ministries, a ministry to women, especially for the purpose of praying for babies and pregnant moms. See more content from Emily on her website: