"Don't strive - live!" Those are the words I heard from God earlier this week. Sounds strangely similar to words I sometimes hear from my husband, "Wendy, does everything need to run to a schedule? Lets be spontaneous!"
Don't strive. What does that mean? Does it mean that I have slipped back into doing things in my strength, not God's strength? Highly likely!
For it is [not your strength, but it is] God who is effectively at work in you, both to will and to work [that is, strengthening, energizing, and creating in you the longing and the ability to fulfill your purpose] for His good pleasure. Philippians 2:13 AMP.
So what needs to change? I'm not exactly sure, but a good starting place is taking a breath, being still, and asking God what needs to change. Obviously He knows and I need to listen.
Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! "For who has known the mind of the Lord? or who has become His counselor?" Romans 11:33-34 NKJV
As the years go by in this walk with Jesus, I realise more and more my absolute need for Him in my everyday life. How is it that I ever did life before having Jesus as my best friend? Oh I remember, I did it all in my own strength. An example from my corporate life, working hard, exhausting myself so much so that every six months I would become physically sick and have at least a week off work! Not really a sustainable way to live. Definitely striving.
So what's different now? I have a counsellor that is continually with me.
But the aHelper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will help you remember everything that I have told you. John 14:26 AMP
The Holy Spirit. He's not pushy. He doesn't force his opinions on me. He waits for me to ask him for guidance. Sometimes I am way too slow in asking. And sometimes I don't ask at all, and that's when the problems start.
And not only do we have the Holy Spirit, we also have available to us a peace that transcends all understanding ...
Peace I leave with you; My [perfect] peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid. [Let My perfect peace calm you in every circumstance and give you courage and strength for every challenge.] John 14:27 AMP
Thank you Jesus! For me that feeling of uneasiness about a situation, is sometimes an indication of striving. Me not doing things God's way because I haven't bothered to seek His thoughts, or running ahead of God's perfect timing because I am too impatient to wait. Both perfect opportunities to ask the Holy Spirit for guidance. Of course once I do ask and wait, that sense of God's perfect peace does bring clam and gives me courage and strength.
To help me understand what He meant, yesterday God gave me a practical lesson on 'Don't strive - live'. He showed me what living looks like compared to striving. We had a situation that was causing issues, but we had no answers for how to resolve it. Notice the 'we had no answers'. So after 7 weeks of grappling with this issue, at the point of complete frustration we prayed a really heartfelt prayer. Not a half-hearted prayer, semi-relying on God to provide an answer. But a complete 'God we need your answer to this situation'.
We then entered the situation with a different attitude, with a heart prepared to love and show grace. The issue arose again. But this time the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to see something different - the perfect answer to the problem. It was an answer that none of us could have imagined as it was so opposite to the situation, yet so simple. We looked on in amazement. I felt like a little school girl with the teacher saying to me, 'If you'd just asked me earlier I could have shown you the steps to solve this and you would have avoided all this heartache.'
Don't strive - live. Okay Jesus, I'm starting to get the picture, the picture of where the striving has crept in and my reliance on you has reduced. Thank you for your gentle guidance and conviction.
My prayer is that what I've shared in this post will encourage you in a few ways, firstly to take time to hear what God is wanting to tell you; secondly if you don't understand what He means, seek him for clarity; and thirdly to have the courage to live His way in every area of your life - a daily challenge for us all.
Jesus came to give us life, life to the full, and isn't that what we want for ourselves and those around us?
The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows]. John 10:10 AMP
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