Journey Orientation and Striving

What it means to stop striving.

“Striving is ego-centric, Walking in Purpose is altruistic.”

Whether you are a believer or not, you might have heard the verse from the Book of Psalms (in the Bible) that goes like this:

Most translations say “Be still and know that I am God.”I quote this to myself often because it sounds and feels peaceful.

It’s easy to know what to do when you read clear instructions: Like –

Edit this Excel spreadsheet and get it back out to the client for updated information – The Boss

Eat a salad. – Me to Myself

But ‘Be still’?  ‘Stop striving’?

Being told to stop all the things I do that give me a false sense of security leaves a vacuum. It leaves you sitting there eyes darting back and forth, wondering how you could sit there being so useless.

Seeing as how these few simple words are in the Bible, they must have a purpose besides making us sit on our hands and stare at a rock garden or veg out watching mindless TV.

What ‘Stop Striving’ Does NOT Mean

It does not mean to do be lazy and not work.

It does not mean that we should cease making plans and having goals.

it does not mean we should work at half capacity.

‘Work’ is probably not even the context for this verse, although it is, most definitely, a valid application for some of what I think we should be getting at.

It also does not mean to forgo things like goal-setting and being intentional about things. You can still have a plan and work towards executing that plan.

My friend Matt put it this way recently. “The more I strived, the further away I got from any goal I had. Due to the fact that I was always striving to reach my “potential”, it always left an emptiness in my heart. What is “potential” anyway? An imaginary finish line or capacity in which I am supposed to somehow reach on my own? I always thought of myself as the master…the master of my life the master of my universe.

Everytime I would strive for my potential, I was getting fuel from the wrong power source.

Striving for potential and walking in purpose is not just two separate topics, they are two different planets. Allowing myself to transform, and actually surrender my “control” to God has allowed me to become in touch with who I really am, and syncs me up with my purpose.

My purpose is not burn out, it’s not stress, it’s not anger, its allowing God to work through me so I can be a vessel for him to allow me to sow into other people’s lives. That is the infinite game, the journey, not the destination. There is no metaphorical carrot dangling in front of me, because there is no such thing as reaching and striving for my potential.

What I Believe ‘Stop Striving’ Means

“Stop trying to manufacture the outcomes in your own life and in the life of others.”

It’s about giving up control.

We can’t control the way most people think about us.  We can’t control whether or not the economy will take a turn that affects our industry and career.

We can’t control what some kid will say to our kid at the playground during recess – or how our kid will respond to that kid.  We can parent, but we can’t be there every moment and manage every situation.

We can’t control a lot of things that we try, everyday, to control.

Which is why we do well to stop striving.  That’s the perfect description of what we do when we try to control every outcome, every thought someone has of us, or everything that happens to someone we love.

It’s futile. It’s draining. And it’s not our job.

BH/ Intentional Living in the Land of Distractions

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