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You Can Stop Striving

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Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. Luke 1:38

I’ve always been a goal-setter, a hustler, a competitor. I can out-train anyone. Out-work anyone. I can be focused to a fault. Getting up early and staying up late is my routine. And I love it.

I remember my Papa Ike visiting the Crystal Cathedral on many occasions during his wintering out in California and reminding me what Robert Schueller had said, “If it’s to be it’s up to me.” I took those words to heart for years.

Staring my life coaching practice in 2010 I was eager to save the world from unhappiness. If ‘they’ could just see that they had the power within themselves to change anything and we could create an action plan then why not have a fabulous life and ride off into the sunset on a white horse with prince charming?

And I don’t think that action plans are bad.

But I do think that it cuts out a lot of the miracle and mystery of life. I do think that we have to leave space for God’s will to show up in unexpected ways. I do think that most of life, despite our desire to control actions and outcomes, is not in our control.

Did you choose the day you would be born?

Did you pick your eye color or your skin color?

Did you choose your family?

Think of so many of the major life events that have happened to you. Did you MAKE them happen or was there some randomness to the events that led up to that event?

A conversation on an airplane. A chance meeting in a grocery store. An accident that led to something better.

I’m listening to the New Testament on CD in my car right now in memory of my dad (it was his set and I found it recently in my garage). Yesterday started Luke. And as I was driving home after dropping Molly off at school I heard the stories of Elizabeth and Mary’s pregnancies. Both miraculous. Both unexpected.

I got to thinking. What if we could just relax more? Trust more? Stop striving so much? Just show up and let God to the work. Mary wasn’t striving to try to have an angel appear to her. Nor was Elizabeth even considering the possibility of a child having been barren her entire life and now well past the years for childbearing.

Sometimes the things we want just take time.

God has not forgotten you. He sees the desires of your heart and He is working with you for the good of all. I say this to encourage you, but also to encourage me.

I have a very hard time relaxing. I default to over-doing mode. I like to produce and feel accomplished. But the truth is, I believe what God has for me (and you) to do is so big, that there is no way I could accomplish it in my own strength. And that is exactly where He wants me to be.

“If it’s to be it is NOT up to me.”

May God work miracles today. May anything that materializes from the small effort I put in be amplified by His power. May I look at it and say, “But for the Grace of God go I. May it be done unto me according to Your Word.”

May I accept, like Mary, the plans God has for me that I could have never contrived or worked for on my own. May I trust, like Mary, that God’s ways are higher than my ways and while human understanding is limited, God’s wisdom is unlimited.

Today I will relax.

Or at least I will try.