“We mostly spend [our] lives conjugating three verbs: to want, to have and to do. Craving, clutching and fussing, we are kept in perpetual unrest.” Evelyn Underhill
“My jabbering prayers have been full of what I want, what I think I should have, and what I want God to do. …Instead of fussing, striving, and monitoring, we surrender ourselves to God over and over again. For those of us who are hooked on productivity, this approach is radical. …Letting go of the need to perform for God sets our hearts on things above and turns our backs on self-importance. Instead of trying to have an accomplishment-driven relationship with God, enjoying God’s presence points us toward:
- resting instead of productivity,
- being silent instead of talking,
- listening instead of giving advice,
- empowering others instead of preaching to them,
- asking questions instead of knowing answers,
- surrendering instead of gritting your teeth,
- giving instead of consuming,
- striving for brokenness instead of upward mobility, and
- gearing down to simplicity instead of gearing up to empire building.” Jan Johnson
“In our religious striving, we are usually looking for something quite other than the God who has come looking for us.” Eugene Peterson
“Cease striving and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- Are you “kept in perpetual unrest?” Are you “hooked on productivity?”
- If so, what do these things say about your need to seem important to others? …to seem important to God? Could that be what you’re “usually looking for?”
- The Scripture reminds us that God does not require or want our anxious striving. The list above spells out what a relaxed, trusting life might look like. Look at that list again. Is God speaking to you about anything there?
Father, May I rest instead of striving.
walk instead of racing.
receive instead of grasping.
listen instead of speaking.
endure instead of quitting.
May I trust instead of worrying.
appreciate instead of griping.
forgive instead of blaming, and
above all, may I love.
For More: When The Soul Listens: Finding Rest and Direction in Contemplative Prayer by Jan Johnson
These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest! – Bill (Psalm 90:14)
“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”