By Nicki Hardy
This morning I sat down to write a blog for my husband because he needed some help this week and it is known between the two of us that I enjoy writing. In fact, recently I even said to some dear friends that I ‘felt the pleasure of God’ when I wrote. What a statement!
As I have been sitting here ‘trying to deliver’ there has been no joy, no flow, no pleasure, no ‘heart beating in rhythm with His’. I have felt discouraged, dry, without skill or talent and no amount of writing has been putting me in a place of worship to ‘the One I love’ as it usually would. The difference? STRIVING!
The Cambridge Dictionary definition of the verb ‘strive’ is the following; ‘to try very hard to do something or to make something happen, especially for a long time or against difficulties’. In this blog I am not talking about the striving of Hebrews 4 v 11 where we are being exhorted to persevere with making good and Godly choices. I am talking about striving when there is absolutely no need whatsoever because he has a better way that has already been prepared.
I have had something of a journey with striving, as I can imagine quite a few of you have too and this is my advice; DON’T DO IT!
Striving has been one of the most toxic things I have ever entertained in my life. At the time of ‘trying harder’ I have felt more Christian, more patriotic, superior even, that I could ‘rise above the hardship’, overcoming something that challenged me to the point of exhaustion. Perhaps some of this has been down to false teaching or wrong understanding of scriptures that I grew up with, or perhaps down to what we have been taught culturally in order to overcome extreme times of difficulty.
I understand that in our humanness striving is as natural as ‘sneezing’ when something irritates our noses, it is a reflex response.
I am only just beginning to understand something that Holy Spirit has been diligently and repeatedly presenting to me over many years and it is this, that he never designed me to ‘strive’, he designed me to ‘thrive’.
To thrive on all the benefits that are ours because of him. I say benefits and in my spiritual ears I can hear some of you cringe that you might have to accept something for free which isn’t the way you do things, but that is exactly the point! If you are a believer in Jesus then you have already accepted something very important for ‘free’! His life for yours! He died for us and even there I can feel myself ‘girding up’ ready to try again to rightly speak, act or be….STOP.
I need this put simply by Holy Spirit as I suspect you do if we are to be freed from what seems so ingrained. I don’t think he can put it any more simply than….he HAS done it…but we need his help to accept it and rather than strive to achieve it, believe what he says.
Ephesians chapter 2 verses 1-10 talks about this and verse 10 tells us exactly what we are supposed to be doing now, in our new identity; loved, created by him especially for receiving and sharing all the good things which have been prepared already for us and those that don’t know him yet.
I’d like to invite you to do an activation with me if you are willing?
Imagine you are at a meal table with all your favourite people.
You are seated at the table, there was a name card showing you where to sit, it felt good to see your name, you were expected, planned for and provided for.
Food is still being brought in to the room and you can hear noises in the kitchen so you think ‘I should help’. You get up and try to go into the kitchen to offer assistance but you are told, ‘It’s ok, it’s all done, I am just bringing it through for you to enjoy now’.
You offer to carry a plate but are told, ‘no, that’s ok I love carrying it for you, it’s part of my joy!’
At this stage there are a number of reactions you might have; you might agree, accept it’s all done and begin to enjoy it, understanding the incredible work that has been done and acknowledging this makes you feel even more loved. Or you may struggle….you find it hard to just sit and enjoy someone else’s work, you want to do something about it, you want to contribute.
If you find that you are more like the last scenario, why don’t you spend some time asking Holy Spirit to show you why you personally find it hard to accept that Jesus has done it all and wants you to enjoy all he has provided?
We love to hear your stories of encounter with God. You can share by leaving a comment below.
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