When I think of the word ‘strive’, I think of trying, doing, straining, and the feeling of being almost there but not quite. It’s very tiring and I think one of the reasons I think about that so much is because that has marked the majority of my life. I have had a mindset of striving, trying, and doing to make sure I have a seat at the table. Am I good enough? Am I valued? Do people see me? Do people hear me? It’s a constant battle of always trying to be enough.
However, after thinking about that for a while, I had the thought that in the Garden of Eden, we were sentenced to a life of striving. It was when the serpent tempted Eve and she gave Adam the fruit, God said this to the man, “cursed is the ground because of you through painful toil.” (Genesis 3:17) In other words, striving. “You will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you.” In other words, we will have trials, tribulations, and you will eat the plants of the field by the sweat of your brow through striving.
Then at Mount Sinai, Moses has given the law and then the rest of the Old Testament unpacks the law. It’s doing, trying, striving, and straining. But listen to what Jesus says,
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
Rest is something we must be given.
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:29)
It’s so amazing to know that God is always with us, giving us His grace for everything we need to do in life. Trust God’s unconditional love for you today. And when you find yourself getting frustrated or feeling overwhelmed, like you just can’t do it anymore, remember to stop, get your focus back on Him and enter into His rest once again. God didn’t design us to try hard for fear of being rejected. God designed us to try hard because of the certainty of our acceptance.
It is the Lord’s job to provide the victory over every one of our weaknesses. He can handle whatever is needed. Our striving will never do it. So let’s enter deliberately into that rest He provides us (Hebrews 4:11) and to trust Him completely for safety and provision. When we let go of our ability to try and be good enough, we rest in the fact that He already is good enough on our behalf.