Less Striving, More Abiding


The message I am getting every which way I turn these days is that God is the One in charge. That it’s seriously not all about me. 

See, we all come pre-programmed to be independent, to seek affirmation, to do something great, to be right, to succeed, to somehow take this flesh-wrapped humanness and make something amazing out of it that will be applauded and made an example to others. We have dreams for what we can achieve, hopes for our future, plans for how we are going to take this one life and live it to the fullest.

I am. I do.

We are designed for greatness. And we crave it like a cool drink after a hard game of soccer. Life won’t be complete without some masterful achievement or philanthropy or incredible feats of strength and bravery. We don’t really like mundane.

And we’re seldom satisfied. We don’t feel like we’re enough — our hospitality isn’t good enough, our homes aren’t clean enough, our kids aren’t kind enough, are clothes are never cute enough, our bodies always need improvement, we aren’t funny enough or interesting enough or have enough energy or charisma. We don’t meet up with our own relentless expectations.

And so we try harder. We find new methods. We re-arrange the schedule again. Seriously. I’m the queen of striving.

But God didn’t plant dreams and ambitions in our hearts to make us feel constant unworthiness or discouragement. Or maybe He DID.  Not for the purpose of making us feel miserable but to point our sad hungry hearts straight to HIM. The restlessness, the striving, the discontent? Meant to make us remember our Maker. 

Who are we to think we know the biggest picture? Who do we think we are to try to orchestrate gospel tellings and minister to hearts without His prompting and guidance?

Some of my family members were affected by the recent Calgary area flooding and were greatly assisted by the organized relief efforts in their area. But Facebook told the story of many who were donating items that were not needed, trying to help when really they were getting in the way. The organizations with the big picture, with the infrastructure in place, were well equipped to do the job and asked that others fall in under their control to bring about the most good.

“Abide in Me, and I will abide in you. A branch cannot bear fruit if it is disconnected from the vine, and neither will you if you are not connected to Me.” John 15:4

Jesus asks us to abide in him — to wait for, to bear patiently, to accept without objection, to continue, to remain. To give up our way of doing things. To let Him take the reins. To be on His team. To ask for our orders.

Not to do _______ or _______ to make myself feel uh.mazing or deserve a pat on the back.

Not to fill out my Christian resume and then look down on the others who haven’t quite done enough, who aren’t quite good enough.

John and Stasi Eldredge, in their book Captivating, talk about the restful atmosphere of a calm, quiet-spirited woman who enjoys her life with Jesus and offers a great deal of mercy to those around her. She “offers others the grace to be and the room to become”. Because if you don’t give yourself any space for imperfections, you’ll live in a bubble of striving, not in an inviting atmosphere of grace.

The message? Less striving, more abiding.

11 Responses to Less Striving, More Abiding
  1. Ginny
    June 25, 2013 | 12:55 am

    “Less striving, more abiding …” what a great mantra. Your post also makes me think of the words of St. Augustine: “Our hearts are restless until they rest in You.”

    Glorious roses, too — what a lift to the spirits!

    • Laura Kyle
      June 25, 2013 | 8:49 am

      Yes, perfect quote to add to this post. 🙂

  2. Deb
    June 25, 2013 | 8:18 am

    What a beautiful reminder Laura. I am going to abide in an atmosphere of His grace. There really is no better place to be.

  3. Charis
    June 25, 2013 | 9:48 am

    it is totally true that our hearts are restless and striving when our attention and focus isn’t fully on Him. great reminder today.

  4. Joelle
    June 25, 2013 | 2:45 pm

    I needed to hear this today as much as you needed to write it. Thank you for speaking out for the current cries of my heart. One day at a time abiding in Him 🙂

    • Laura Kyle
      June 25, 2013 | 4:45 pm

      Thankful for that, Joelle. 🙂

  5. Sara
    June 25, 2013 | 4:43 pm

    Looking past my imperfections,gosh I really do NEED to do that so much more often! Living for Christ is what it’s all about in this world and I could do with a dose of that every day.

  6. robin
    June 25, 2013 | 7:54 pm

    I am sharing this with my Bible Ladies tonight. Thank you for continuing to write in spite of the struggles and sharing them with us. The Lord uses your words for other’s ears who might not read anything elsewhere.

  7. Melanie Wilson
    June 26, 2013 | 1:42 pm

    Definitely a great reminder for me as I stare down a massive to-do list. Thank you!

  8. Lillie Y. Salinas
    July 2, 2013 | 8:31 pm

    You have given me the gift of a body, Make me wise enough to keep it healthy, That I might serve better.

  9. Samantha Deleon
    July 3, 2013 | 10:57 pm

    You have given me the gift of a body, Make me wise enough to keep it healthy, That I might serve better.