Striving Is About Shame and Resolving Shame Brings Wonderful Rest
Christian Devotions can be a time of cooperating with God to move from striving to rest. Years ago I was on a sales call with a friend. We were meeting an executive at a trucking company my friend knew. I was expressing fear: “Do you think he’ll get mad we didn’t call first?” “If he seems too busy, we can just leave some information with his secretary.”
My friend finally said, “It’s not that delicate.” That phrase turned a light on for me. I wasn’t even aware of the fear I was experiencing. I hadn’t realized my stress and lack of rest.
So often I have been afraid of saying the wrong thing in front of people I considered important. My turmoil would lead to inward striving. This fear made it hard to step out and try things. It’s made it hard to be comfortable in my own skin and simply be at rest.
Striving is about shame, an inner feeling of inferiority; that something is bad, wrong, flawed about me. This shame shows up when I’m trying to do a given thing and I feel it is not okay to make a mistake or fail because if I do, my self-worth is in question. But if I can see these dynamics–how shame leads to fear and striving–then there is hope. God is able to comfort me and love me out of them (I John 4:18–perfect love casts out fear). God really does have a life of rest available for us!