I'm really good at striving and leaning on my own strength.
I'm really good at striving and trying to push down doors I shouldn't even walk through. My flesh would like to think I'm a master of self reliance, but the truth is, I'm extremely limited and weak.
The harder I push in my own strength, the more weary I get.
Over and over again in our chat we talk about resting in the Lord. Truly surrendering our own kingdoms to the true King and His Kingdom.
As I've thought about it, there are several places where we can go in scripture to deal with striving and weariness. I've intentionally chosen 4 places where I often end up after God shows me I'm back at the self thing again.
battle striving and weariness with these 4 steps
1) Become a Person of One Thing (Psalm 27)
King David obviously had a busy life. Dude had a full plate. Imagine being a king, a warrior, and a songwriter. That's a crazy awesome combo by the way isn't it?
But at the end of a busy day in King David's life, he was a person of only one thing.
One thing have I asked of the LORD,
that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
and to inquire in his temple.
For he will hide me in his shelter
in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;
he will lift me high upon a rock.
And now my head shall be lifted up
above my enemies all around me,
and I will offer in his tent
sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make melody to the LORD.
(Psalm 27:4-6 ESV)
If I do this, my "head will be lifted up" above my circumstances. It will drastically improve my perspective.
I'll become more thankful and joy-filled. I'll experience transformation in the renewal of my mind, and find peace in my stormy soul.
2) Abide In Jesus (John 15)
This is at the heart of being a person of "one thing". And how often I forget this!
My calling first and foremost is to be a worshiper. Before I get to work doing anything, I am called (and invited) to rest, sitting at Jesus' feet, fixing my gaze on Him.
Jesus' words in John 15 remind me that any real, lasting fruit that I bear comes only from abiding in Him.
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
(John 15:4-5 ESV)
Do I want to bear fruit? Do I want to get more done that actually matters and leaves an impact on people after you're gone?
If that's true, I need to stay at the feet of Jesus. I need to hold fast and remain in the gospel (Colossians 1:23).
Reading through John 15 is such a wonderful reminder that we can rest in Christ, and in so doing we will bear fruit that He wants to bring forth in our ministry and work.
I wonder if the fruit that I would point to in my life is real fruit at all? No more fluff. I need to stick with Jesus, letting God the Father prune me. If I'm delighting in Him, then I'll be amazed and thankful that He decides to use me at all.
3) Stop, drop, and wait.... (Isaiah 40)
Isaiah 40:28-31 is a perfect reminder of my true state. I am weak. I am limited. Only the everlasting God is the one who never sleeps, never gets tired, and never burns out.
Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.
(Isaiah 40:28-31 ESV)
Of course the key here is that I learn to wait on the God who will come and restore strength and renew my sense of purpose.
Type A people need this. This will transform a driven person's life. We need this. I need this!
4) Just Do Today's Tasks (Psalm 37)
There are only enough hours in the day today. God has given me good tasks that I can perform today that will affect tomorrow. I need to forget about the results and just do the things God has given me grace for today. The outcome is in his hands.
Another great place is Psalm 37. Here we see a very practical exhortation to stay put, feed on the Lord, delight in Him, and watch Him act on my behalf:
Trust in the LORD, and do good;
dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the LORD,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in him, and he will act.
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
and your justice as the noonday.
(Psalm 37:3-6 ESV)
Jesus himself talks about the rewards of being faithful in the small things of my life (Matthew 25).
Even if some things don't seem to line up with my purpose, they are looked upon by the Lord Himself. I need to simply dwell in whatever good land I find myself in, delight myself in God, be faithful, and watch what happens! He acts! What a great promise.
How Do You Deal With Striving and Weariness?
You may have other promise verses that recalibrate your soul. There are also plenty of practical ways to deal with striving and weariness.
One suggestion is planning a personal prayer retreat to get clarity and meet with God. Check out this post I wrote on what to think through and plan before you go on one.
Are you feeling tired? Are you spinning your wheels, striving in areas where Jesus wants you to slow down, or even stop all together?
What are the signs that you need to slow down and rest in Jesus? How would you deal with striving and weariness?
Let me know in the comments!