Cease Striving


It was past midnight, I laid in bed unable to sleep, warm tears soaking my pillow. I was so unhappy and feeling so guilty for being so unhappy. There were so many good things in my life, how could I possibly feel so lost?

In the dark of night, I began to pour out my heart on paper:

I want to feel alive
I want to feel the sand running though my fingers
Each grain slipping through, rubbing against my hands
My hands that so easily take to busyness, to work

Too busy to enjoy life
Too busy to feel alive

I want to see the smile on my daughters’ faces
Study each tooth, each line, each movement
Feel the joy exuding from them

To lay in bed next to my husband,
Hear his heartbeat,
His deep breaths as he falls into a slumber
Remembering from where we have come
But looking forward to our future

I want to feel alive
Taking the cool air into my nose,
Filling up my lungs
Recognizing the Creator
In awe of the One who gave me this life

To stop
To pause
To feel
To be


Night after night I poured out my heart on paper, random thoughts, raw emotions, spilling on the page…

Sometimes I want to shout from the rooftops, “I am here!” “I matter!” just so I believe myself.

What do I like and dislike?

What do I enjoy doing?

What makes me happy?

What brings me real joy?

WHO am I?

I was so lost. I had forgotten how to find delight. I had lost all sense of who I was. I allowed myself to get so tired, so worn down, so overworked that I had forgotten how to find delight in anything at all. I literally didn’t even know where to start to find delight. I was too tired for a hobby. Too exhausted to go out with friends. I wanted to enjoy my kids and my hubby and the life that was whirling around me but I was too tired…mentally, physically, emotionally DONE.

As I started praying and seeking the Lord, Psalm 46:10 kept “popping up.” Don’t you love those “coincidences?” Sweet whispers from the Lord. “Be still, and know that I am God.” This is a seemingly simple part of Psalm 46:10 and while it has been redundant to my ears many times, it hit me like a ton of bricks this time. The New American Standard version says, “Cease striving and know that I am God.”

God’s words to my heart:

Just be. Stop striving. Stop looking for more, stop wondering what will be, what could be, what could have been. Just be. Take Me in, learn about who I really am. Take in the life around you, your kids, your husband, creation that is all around you. Exist in the space that you are in. Stop going from one thing to another while thinking about the next thing. Just BE.

I played these words over and over in my mind.

My prayers for myself before all of this were often prayers of, “I don’t know what to pray for myself but God help me.” Now I had clarity for what to pray for myself, “God help me be. God teach me how to cease striving.”

I have these beautiful lives right in front of me and every day that I am in a fog of anxiety or depression or busyness, is a day that I have swallowed up. Danielle Bennett says in her poem “Kairos” (a moving spoken word poem that you should totally listen to), “I want to taste the day before I swallow it.” I know that learning to “be” is going to be a lifetime journey. A life of learning to accept what is in front of me. A life of learning to enjoy what exists around me. A life of constantly surrendering myself to His glory. A life of learning to be ALIVE.