Tired of Striving?

Learn to Be Still
“Stop doing things for God, and spend more time Being in His presence.” Loretta Chalfant

Are you performance-driven?

That’s how I lived. Always striving to be productive. The more things I scratched off my list at the end of the day, the BETTER, I felt.

Who am I kidding? I’m still that way. The problem is, there’s always another list.

A friend of mine told me, “Christian women are horrible when it comes to knowing how to Rest.”

Could it be Christian women spend too much time striving to be a “good Christian” rather than rest in who we are in Christ?

Because I’m wired to be performance-driven, I originally took that mindset into my Christian walk. I felt the more I did for God, the more He’d love me. Isn’t that how it works in life with people?

My love language is acts of service so loving God meant I had to serve Him on top of trying to be the perfect wife and supermom. You’ve heard of the Proverbs 31 woman, right?

So over the years, this “good Christian” worked in the church nursery. Taught children’s Sunday School.  Made meals for sick people. Attended Women’s Bible Study. Showed up whenever there was a women’s event. For a time, home schooled my kids. Volunteered in their school classrooms. Drove on every field trip.

Oh, don’t forget reaching out to the neighbors. We have to evangelize. And Christians must be Light and Salt in the community: Help the homeless, the poor, the people in jail.

Yada yada….DID I FORGET SOMETHING?

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Bottom line: I was like a worn out, limp dishrag, trying so hard to earn God’s love and approval. Never certain I hit the mark. Never satisfied with my performance. 

Please, say I’m not the only one.

That’s when the Lord brought a spiritual mentor into my life. Loretta listened to me during Bible Study, and recognized the taskmaster within me.

“Stop Doing things for God,” she said, “and spend more time Being in His Presence.”

Sheer exhaustion made me stop. That, and the desire to experience more of God.

I made an honest appraisal of everything I thought I had to earn, or experience, to be satisfied. I asked myself:

  • Why am I doing these things?
  • If I do more for God, will He love me more?

Old habits are hard to break, but I learned from experience that intimacy with God doesn’t happen because I have lots of Biblical knowledge or serve others.

Intimacy comes from knowing God. And that happens when we make the time to be still in God’s presence…meditating on His Word, listening for His voice. Seeking His face, not His blessings.

Only then, can our hearts rest and be satisfied even in this….hectic world.

Bench photo: Courtesy of Jennifer Foster

Author: Karen Foster

I'd like to say I've changed, but after decades of living, I still have the same four passions. My relationship with Jesus, spending time with family, attending live theater, and writing devotions & first-person stories about a loving, faithful God who reveals Himself in our every day circumstances.

14 thoughts on “Tired of Striving?”

  1. You nailed it Karen! Its a struggle I think most of us deal with. Sometimes I wonder why we try to complicate what He made so simple!!!

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  2. I always love reading your posts. I think, though, more than being wired to be performance-driven, we are brain-washed to be performance-driven. And no, you’re not the only one. As your list of ‘good-Christian-girl’ activities went on, the resonating continued. Loved seeing reference to Loretta.

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    1. Great point, Susan, about being brain-washed. I suppose if we grew up in a different culture, the to-do mode would be less enslaving. Perhaps that’s also why younger generation is less eager to join the ranks of their mother’s potluck church events. Hmmmm

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