Are you trying too hard in your Spiritual Walk? I don’t mean to be flippant or to take lightly the fact that we need to put energy and effort into our spiritual journey – we absolutely do. But it is all too easy to get ourselves uptight about it and forget that God really is the only One who can truly change things – either in our circumstances, in our hearts, and especially in the people around us.
Not long ago in a worship service I attended the pastor led a guided meditation asking each one of us to imagine ourselves walking along a road talking with Jesus. He told us to imagine what burden or concern we would surrender to Him for healing in that conversation, and what He would say about it. I had been struggling with discerning what God was calling me to do in my life, and also about a situation in which people I cared about were apparently unable to see some spiritual truths in that situation. They simply couldn’t grasp how it related to them or affected their lives, and these concerns were what came to my mind during that meditation. As soon as I articulated those concerns in my mind, the phrase “you are trying too hard” popped into my head. I didn’t hear a voice, but I knew that thought hadn’t originated in my own consciousness.
That quick thought reminded me that changing myself, the world, or people around me isn’t really up to me, it’s up to God. Yes, I have to put time and effort into prayer and learning, and sometimes behavior modification and so on, but the results of that effort are neither my responsibility, nor do I have the choosing of exactly when or how those results come about. That’s God’s province, and I need to remember to let Him handle it. What is up to me is to let go and be available for Him to work in and through me. I also need to remember to wait on the Holy Spirit to move me before I push ahead.
I remember another time I heard clearly from God about this. I was impatiently asking why He wouldn’t show me what the next few steps would be in a certain season of my growing, and I clearly heard Him say “Because if I show you, you will run on ahead before you are ready”. As much as I wanted to say “no I won’t”, I was chagrined to realize that He was absolutely right. Once I saw the path, I would immediately push on, whether the Spirit was leading or not.
God has to be the one in charge. We can’t do anything by our own striving. Even with the best intentions in the world, if we expect results from our own efforts, and act as if what we do is the key, we are doomed to disappointment. God alone is responsible for the results and their timing. Ideas like “If I don’t do it , it won’t get done”, or “I’m the only one that can handle it”, or “if I get right on it, it will get done sooner”, or “the harder I work at it, the quicker it will happen” absolutely do not apply. Although we can’t shirk doing things we know we need to do, we have to let God be in charge of the results.
Thank You, Lord, for Your frequent reminders that, despite the saying, if it is to be, it is up to You, not me. Help me to stay by Your side, not running ahead, or pushing the cart. Help me to keep myself available and submitted to You and let You create Your will in and through my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.