Why Are You Trying so Hard?

What do you think you need in order to be productive, valuable—or pleasing to God? What do you find yourself wishing you had more of?

A friend who battles arthritis and runs a ministry wants more energy. Some of us long for more experience or creativity, then we think we’ll have something to offer the world. Others wish they had the enthusiasm of youth. If only I had _____ then I’d ______.

How would you fill in that statement?

We all face limitations. The young mom with so many ideas has no time to execute them. The empty nester feels her knowledge is outdated. What if our limits are windows to spiritual realities? What if God has provided a way to live beyond our restraints?

Soak in these Scriptures, and consider how they apply to you.

  • “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” (Jn. 8:29 NASB).
  • “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing” (Jn. 15:5 NLT).
  • The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life” (Jn. 6:63 NLT)
The more we rest in Christ's sufficiency the more fruitful we become. Share on X

This in no way promotes passivity. Paul said, “But whatever I am now it is all because God poured out such kindness and grace upon me—and not without results: for I have worked harder than all the other apostles, yet actually I wasn’t doing it, but God working in me, to bless me” (1 Cor. 15:10 NLT).

God throws us into situations where we'll either sink in our inadequacies or swim in His grace. Share on X

The striking differences in the way the princesses Orual and Psyche attempted to gather wool from the gods’ rams in C. S. Lewis’ Till We Have Faces illustrate this. Orual believed that if she could but steal one curl of their golden fleece she would become beautiful, loved, and valued. Her frantic effort produced only bumps and bruises.

Photo by: Cosmic Timetraveler

Psyche, on the other hand, stood on the edge of the pasture, unflustered as she puzzled over her task. After the rams passed, she easily gathered great clumps of wool left on the hedges.

Orual said, “What I’d sought in vain by meeting the terrible brutes, she took at her leisure. She won without effort what utmost effort would not win for me.”

Too often I’ve been the impatient Orual. I missed the joy of Psyche’s faith because I felt it was up to me to accomplish a task or prove myself. I forgot that faith not performance pleases Jesus. And He always supplies the means to accomplish His will. Faith in His sufficiency, not my accomplishments, is enough to move mountains. Share on X

Question: What helps you stop striving and enjoy God in your situation?

Click here to comment.


To learn more about resting in Jesus in your particular circumstance check out Give Yourself a Break.

Small Group: Ladies, if you’re interested in studying Winning Your Daily Spiritual Battles in a small group, click here.


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  1. Ann

    I needed this today Debbie. It’s kind of similar to the Mary/Martha thing – which I struggle with sometimes. I’m getting better about learning to rest in Him and waiting for Him to direct but I still sometimes run out ahead out of habit.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Me too, Ann. Or recently it has had to do with frustrations with technology. I find myself grumbling and frustrated when an app isn’t working, like that will help! Listening to Till We Have Faces caught me up short. There is a better way!

      • Ann

        Thank you for the reminder and always being so authentic and transparent.

  2. Beth

    I’ve struggled with Orual’s mindset lately, Debbie, so this is a refreshing reminder that the strength and any success comes from the Lord and not from my strivings. Great thoughts, my friend–and very timely for me as well. Hugs to you!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Beth, it is so easy for me to slip back to her mindset. Thankful for God’s grace in our weakness and for you, my friend.

  3. Debbie Norred

    Thank you so much for this inspiring message. It met me right where I am this morning. I will swim in his grace!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Debbie. Lord, help us both to swim in Your grace all day and enjoy your presence.

  4. Michele Morin

    I tweeted your thoughts on fruitfulness, Debbie, because I do have a tendency to think that the world is relying on me to get things done. So thankful for Scripture that gives my mind the right idea about the work of God.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Michele, thank you for challenging us to read Till We Have Faces. I really enjoyed going through it again.

  5. bethany mcilrath

    Such a good message, Debbie. Thank you. I was praying this morning for the Lord to help me settle into Him and His restful way instead of the stress of striving.

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