you aren’t meant to strive so hard // feeling comfortable in your own skin series

you aren't meant to strive so hardYou see me when I travel and when I rest at home.  You know everything I do. -Psalm 139:3 NLT

 
I sat on the floor surrounded by kids and crying.  I was crying.

Because I had tried.  So hard.  I was so exhausted.  And I saw nothing to show for all the effort I had given.  All the work I had put in.  To my family.  To my home.  To myself.  Even to God.

I was worn out.  Tired.  And I told myself, “If only I work a bit harder, then maybe I will see some success.”  These areas of my life all seemed to be failing so the answer seemed like more work.

Or so I thought.

But I am pretty sure I was wrong.

You see I think we are meant to work.  I don’t think God wants us to be lazy.  He wants us to work hard and chase after those dreams He has placed in our hearts.  But there is a difference between working hard and striving.

And I think a lot of our work looks like striving.

Striving to prove our worth.  Striving to prove our success.  Striving to reach our ideal levels of perfection.  Striving to what we think ourselves, our homes, our jobs, our lives, should be.

And it’s impossible to feel comfortable in our own skin when we are fighting off the pressures we have placed on ourselves.  We become so overtaken with the confusion of why things aren’t getting any better so we fight a little harder and yet nothing changes.  And it can’t change.

Because we aren’t meant to strive.  We are meant to rest.

Specifically rest in Him.

When we strive we are taking matters into our own hands instead of handing over the reigns of our hopes and dreams to Christ.

Striving produces strife.

Resting produces life.

So when we are a puddled mess on the floor, like I was, crying over the burdens that I had placed upon myself, then it’s time to realize it shouldn’t be like this.  It shouldn’t be this hard.  Yes, life is hard but when we rest in Christ we also have the overflowing peace that He promises.

We can’t have peace in our hearts if we aren’t resting in Him.

He sees our work.  He sees our efforts.  He is with you in all you do. He wants you to see Him too.  And be with Him.  So let’s try entering into His rest.

How do we do this?  There are many ways but I am going to give you one suggestion and we are going to Psalms 100 for this….

  1. Find the Joy In Your Situation – Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth! Psalms 100:1
  2. Worship His Name – Worship the Lord with gladness. Come before Him, singing with joy. Psalms 100:2
  3. Realize He Is God And We Are His – Acknowledge that the Lord is God!  He made us, and we are His.  We are His people, the sheep of His pasture.  Psalms 100:3
  4. Offer Up Thanksgiving and Fight Through Your Stress With Praise – Enter His gates with thanksgiving; go into His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and praise His name. Psalms 100:4
  5. Rest in His Unfailing Love and Faithfulness – For the Lord is good.  His unfailing love continues forever, and His faithfulness continues to each generation. Psalms 100:5

I think this takes a bit of practice.  It is so easy to pick up the reigns again.  But the more we trust, the more we rest, then the more we have peace in ourselves… But more importantly we have the peace of God.  And that covers any strife that comes our way.

{Call to action: Today try to find time to rest.  Try the 5 tips I gave above.  Or search through the scriptures for a parallel that suits you and your family best.  You can teach your family to rest right along with you.  If you feel overwhelmed and stressing out in your day, pray “Lord, let me enter your rest.”  Fight for that rest friend.  I will pray you will be filled with His peace as you sit in His rest today.} 
This is part 4 of the Feeling Comfortable in Your Own Skin series.  To start at the beginning, see part 1 here.

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