Stop Striving. Just Rest.
I obsess over checklists. I love New Year’s Resolutions. I revel in beating a deadline. I defend my 4.0 grade point.
But all my striving often leads to let down.
I am crushed when I fail to achieve my goals. I beat myself up mercilessly when I feel that I have failed.
My overly intense personality manifests itself in physical symptoms. My shoulders and neck are often tense and sore. I tend to hold my breath when focusing, leaving me at the end of the day trying to catch my breath.
I know I am not the only person with this struggle. I have met many people who seem perfectly content to float through life, but I have also met many others who tackle life with an almost scary degree of intensity.
This is no way to live. While working to achieve the high expectations we set for ourselves is highly rewarding, what price do we pay? Feeling like a constant failure because of unduly high expectations is a form of self-torment.While working to achieve the high expectations we set for ourselves is highly rewarding, what price do we pay? Feeling like a constant failure because of unduly high expectations is a form of self-torment. Click To Tweet
If you are overly ambitious and constantly feel like a failure, stop. Take a deep breath.
While a drive to succeed is a gift, it is a highly potent gift which must be carefully controlled. An unquenchable ambition can cause immense damage to both the possessor and the world around if it is not carefully managed. And the only way to manage the overachiever spirit is to face it with a Biblical worldview.
The Bible encourages God’s people again and again and again to be diligent and hardworking (just read the book of Proverbs!), but there is more to the story than that. Strength, ambition, and diligence are all useless without God’s strength and sustaining power within us.
God is strong in our weakness
Like many of my fellow overachievers, I revel in my ability to complete assignments independently and with excellence. However, I am only human. You are only human. No matter how much time and effort we pour into self-improvement, we will still be flawed human beings who make mistakes despite our best efforts.
Our human weakness is why we desperately need a mighty Savior, a tender, loving God who teaches us how to be dependent on Him. Jesus did not design us to carry heavy loads. In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
There is no reason to depend on our own strength when we have a loving Savior who offers to carry our burdens for us. Since our own strength is prone to failure, we should always rely on Jesus’ strength in tasks both big and small.Since our own strength is prone to failure, we should always rely on Jesus’ strength in tasks both big and small. Click To Tweet
Remember the “why” behind your work
Being a workaholic is extreme and dangerous.
We do not work long, hard hours purely for the sake of working. The reason we work hard is so that we can serve God and those around us with skill and competence. Because we are representatives of Jesus everywhere we go, we strive to show the excellence of God’s nature through our work. And when we are serving Jesus with our efforts, he will help us to find balance between work, recreation, and relaxation.
When we find ourselves working hard purely for the purpose of moving up in positions, building our own platform, or creating a lucrative career, we are being fueled by the wrong motivation. Colossians 3:23 says, “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men”. At the end of the day, we are not working to satisfy ourselves or others, but to bring glory to God.At the end of the day, we are not working to satisfy ourselves or others, but to bring glory to God. Click To Tweet
My friend, we can keep our driven, motivated personalities. If used correctly, our passion is guaranteed to take us far in life. But remember that God already loves and accepts us. We are dearly loved in his eyes.
Continue to work hard, but remember that God is strong in our weakness. And the whole reason we work hard is so we can serve God and others more effectively. Rather than relentlessly striving in our own power, we must remember to rest in God’s constant love, acceptance, and strength which he so freely gives.