When activity makes you weak (a lesson in paradoxes)

Image "I'm beginning to realize that life is a paradox."

About a year or two ago, my sister left that comment on my blog, and it frequently cycles back through my brain, as I see the truth come to life in daily situations. If you start looking for paradoxical situations, you will never run out of examples.

The latest paradox in my life?

It's my senior year of college, the culmination of 16 years of education, and instead of doing more than ever before, I am consciously doing less.

With 3 years of higher education under my belt, going strong on the 4th, I am learning each day to loosen my grip on control. The more you learn, the more you realize you need to learn. The more you do, the more you see that there is to do.

The biggest example of this paradox is that last year, my first year as an RA, I tried so hard. This doesn't sound like a bad thing, because exerting effort and "trying" is good, right? (I guess it depends who you ask).

Well - I was trying and trying to do it (say it with me now): all on my own. And it flopped. My efforts never even seemed to get off the ground to attempt to stand on wobbly legs, they never even got air time.

So how are things different this year?

I'm not trying as hard. I'm still planning and making an effort, but my efforts have switched. I'm leaning more on the giver of knowledge and the source of all wisdom, and I'm walking less myself. I'm praying more and talking less.

Even though it's only 3.5 weeks into school, I can already tell you that this is the way to go. My roommate and I have been trying this together - the whole, "we-do-less, let-God-do-more" thing, and can't stop talking about how amazing it is that at this point, we aren't drained. I feel refreshed and confident in the Lord, I wake up with gratitude and songs of praise in my heart. I see His goodness all around me, because I know HE is the one holding it all together, and not me. It's not my job - what a relief!

Yesterday, I read this quote in a chapter on Prayer and Devotion from a book by E.M. Bounds and it sums up what the Lord has been teaching:

"Activity is not strength. Work is not zeal. Moving about is not devotion. Activity often is the unrecognized symptom of spiritual weakness. It may be hurtful to piety when made the substitute for real devotion in worship. The colt is much more active than its mother, but she is the wheel-horse of the team,pulling the load without noise or bluster or show. The child is more active than the father, who may be bearing the rule and burdens of an empire on his heart and shoulders. Enthusiasm is more active than faith, though is cannot remove mountains nor call into action any of the omnipotent forces which faith can command


He goes on to say....

"Activity is often at the expense of more solid, useful elements, and generally to the total neglect of prayer. To be too busy with God's work to commune with God, to be busy with doing church work without taking time to talk to God about his work, is the highway to backsliding, and many people have walked therein to the hurt of their immortal souls."

Something to think about... are you in the habit of doing it all yourself? Can you trust God to handle it? Will you?