Cease Striving

Cease Striving

Cease Striving

Written by Laura Dingman


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I squeezed into the window seat struggling over strangers. This flight numbered seven in the course of five weeks. Not my normal. I yearn for quiet most. Serenity. Solitude. A nap.


In the previous weeks my roles included conference attendee, conference coordinator, conference speaker, world missions traveler, spiritual direction cohort learner, and the plethora of heroines I attempt to be daily. Those heroines exhaust me on a regular basis without the additional company. My rhythms were wonky. I could feel it deep in my soul.


When home, instead of attending to the needs of my husband and daughter, my mind meanders to the infinite to-do lists, the mounds of undone laundry, the mass of impossible responsibilities.


Squished in my seat with my overstuffed carryon crowding my feet, something surfaced. “There’s got to be more than this,” I thought. More than this never-ending cycle of work. More than this relentless running. More than perpetual exhaustion.


The wheel seems like a longtime friend at first. As though he is meant to be around. Like I should receive him, allowing him to sit at the table to dine with me. What looks like a reliable relationship turns sour fast. It turns because relentless running and perpetual exhaustion were never meant to be my friends. From the beginning, we’ve been enemies.


You see, God set a rhythm in motion from the beginning of time. Ever since, we’ve been fighting its cadence. God fashioned his creation to perform and dance to the steady metronome of the chronological clock. In the beginning, the ticking clock sets the stage for unburdened, unforced rhythms. In Genesis, order emerges. There was evening, and there was morning—it was a day.


Evening. Then morning. That was the day. Resting then working.


Rest fell first and work followed.


On day six, man and woman enter the scene. Creation has been practicing this rhythm for several days now and now Adam and Eve join the dance. Evening falls, but something happens. God spends day seven teaching them how to rest—how to worship. He models rest for his children.


Man and woman have made no significant contributions to creation; yet, God invites them to rest with him. God’s model possesses a rhythm rooted in grace.  A pattern where rest is first given, never earned.  A paradigm where work flows from worship.


God longs to redeem time in our favor. He longs to put a stop to our perpetual exhaustion by offering rest as a grace. He longs for us to live a fully resurrected life right here. Right now. The whirling wheel spins. It squeezes. It takes breath instead of giving it.


I can feel the pressure as I sit pressed against the window. I long to rest. I long to breathe again. I long to stop the spinning. I long for rest because I know in my gut the much-needed water it brings to my weary soul. When we rest—when we come into the presence of God releasing the plates that twirl into his strong, capable hands, we exhale. When we cease striving, God gets to be God.


Then something exquisite arises like the sun breaking the horizon.


When we rest, God’s presence prepares us for what is to come. 


He covers us. He holds the plates we have no business spinning in the first place. He whispers we are enough. He reminds us that he is God and we are not.


So we jump. We leap off the spiraling cycle of work that leaves us dizzy and directionless. We cease striving. We trust God enough to hold the universe together so we let go and let him do it.


A beautifully complex design. And a brave one, too.



What is squeezing you? What do you need to let go of in order to rest? How can you incorporate rest into your daily life? What kind of peace would that bring? For what is God preparing you that you need rest? 

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2 Responses to “Cease Striving”

  1. Laura Perreault

    Hi Laura. This is Laura here. 🙂
    I just love this post. I totally get it! We’ve all been there on the busyness train. Only recently have I finally found a way to spend time with God early in the mornings. But even that isn’t enough. Because I get up from my chair and go right back into running mode. I’m currently working on finding my balance. So, the idea of resting first then working is really fantastic!

    Thank you!!