The End of Striving

God takes us from glory to glory. This past week I went on a vacation to Italy. In all honesty, I didn’t like it. I am by nature a home body and going out of my element for any more than a day is taxing. I went with my mom and she loves to travel. Her job consists mainly of travel. The trip was exhausting but God helped me through it.

There is a reason God does the things He does. He doesn’t intend to exhaust us. When we do get exhausted due to our own disobedience, he will restore us to our former glory when we ask. He wants to give us rest. He wants us to seek His rest and His face. In fact, that is what the Sabbath is all about. Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath (Matthew 12:1). He doesn’t ask for striving, he asks for presence. He is not a God of wanting and striving, He is a God of being. His name is not I will be but I Am. All seeking and striving is for naught. God is within us. He is ever present. There is no need to run to a foreign country to see the beauty inside yourself. You are an entire galaxy. Why seek to visit another galaxy? What is wrong with yours?

When God led the Israelites out of Egypt He taught them how to be content with what God gave them and not to seek other gods or foreign lands for satisfaction. In fact, God kept them in the wilderness for forty years when the journey to the promised land was really only 11 days. They just kept going in circles until they learned how to live out of God’s hand.

I had a similar thing happen to me. I’m glad it didn’t take forty years but it did take seven. I spent years traveling going to parties and looking for something. I lost my license due to a mental breakdown where I was so exhausted I went crazy in 2009. I lived for seven years without a license or a job. I lived in near poverty but I always had enough. I learned to be content with what I had. It was just me and my dog and cat. We were happy. I learned to tend to my needs and take care of my dog. I learned to be present and to listen for God’s leading. I couldn’t do anything else, For some people it takes illness or loss to learn peace. That’s exactly what it took me.

God built us. He knows how to keep us at optimal functioning. We only need to listen. If we won’t listen we have to learn the hard way. The manual way. When I start striving and envying what others have I end up hurting myself. I think, “if I go here or there I will be happy.” I thought if I went on a trip with my mom I could spend more time with her but how stupid is that when we live in the same house? But in the striving I sinned against my own body and disturbed my peace. By the end of the trip my thoughts were angry and hopeless. That is what striving does. It’s worthless. Don’t say tomorrow we will do this or that because you don’t know what tomorrow will bring (James 4:13). Instead, say, if it is the Lord’s will we will do this or that because apart from His will you can do nothing. Look at the Lilies of the field, they neither toil nor spin and verily I say to you Solomon in all his glory was not clothed as one of these (Luke 12:17).

On our trip we were walking along a canal in Milan and at the end we ran into a shop with the most delicious looking treats. Just then I was saying how hungry I was. I thought “Thank you, God, for bringing this to me.” Then I was overwhelmed with God’s grace and started crying. I saw a huge graffiti that said “No frontier.” Then I realized that God was there with me. I didn’t need to search for Him. Then a song came on the radio that was Ed Sheeran’s Perfect. If made me so happy. Words don’t describe what my heart felt. Just then a group of boys all started staring at me. God made me beautiful. Peace is beautiful. It’s a placid lake.