This is not a new revelation for me. It’s something I’ve been working to change for a long time. (Please note the irony that I’m working on not working too hard.)
Even though I’ve known this for a long time, it hit me anew the other night, when one of my friends commented, “You know, all of the really good things that have happened to me have just happened. I didn’t do anything to make them happen.”
The truth of what she said struck me immediately. In my life, as in hers, good things have come when I haven’t expected them, much less deserved them. So I asked myself, once more, why on earth I keep trying so hard. I have seen, again and again, that blessings are just waiting for me to stop running after them.
Jesus promised, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest…. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:28-30). Whatever yoke it is that I keep trying to carry, it is obviously not this one. I want this one.
I’ve decided to give up on praying that God will help me to achieve whatever little goal I’ve decided that I must achieve next. Now I’m praying a new prayer. Lord, give me the grace to stop trying so hard.
While I in no way endorse some aspects of T.S. Eliot’s life and thought (and I frankly don’t understand many others), lately I've found myself praying these words along with him:
I no longer strive to strive towards such things….This is what I want, and this, I believe, is what God wants for me.
And I pray that I may forget
These matters that with myself I too much discuss
Too much explain….
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still
Even among these rocks,
Our peace in His will…
The first of the 12 steps of recovery programs is to admit that we can’t control the things that control us, that we are powerless over our own lives. I’ve decided to take that step—to stop running around frantically trying to fix everything.
Lord, teach me to sit still.