{A Time to Search} Cease Striving, Start Seeking

Written by: Bethany McIlrath

Reconciling the Biblical call to cease striving with the command to continually seek is tricky when you’re in the midst of searching out God’s will for your life. You know that sitting on your hands doing nothing isn’t what God asks of any one. At the same time, you know that moving ahead without his leading isn’t obedience either.

There’s a way to seek without striving, though.

It starts with the object of both those Biblical passages: God.

Read more fully, those two competing charges have something in common: “Cease striving and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). “Seek the LORD and His strength; seek His face continually” (Psalm 105:4).

Just like living out the will of God is all about the Lord, so is waiting for clarity about His will.

I know how hard that can be.

Seasons of unemployment, a couple of cross country moves, non-traditional living arrangements, and several career fields later, my young adulthood has proved to be a case study in the awkward process of surrendering to the Lord’s will, even in the waiting.

Too many of my hours and days have been spent striving to find answers on job sites, Google, and housing portals. I feared irresponsibility. I feared laziness. I feared failure. So I did and did whatever I could to make something happen.

Sometimes I finagled something, other times I learned that you can make striving a full-time gig while accomplishing nothing. Through all of it, the Lord has been faithful.

God continues to seek us even when we forget that we ought to be seeking Him instead of striving to order our lives for Him on our own.

I’ve found seeking Him to be striving-free.

Seeking without striving looks more like:

-Settling into the truth.

-Taking a seat at His feet.

-Watching expectantly.

-Obeying in the small things.

-Looking to Him for provision for just today.

-Measuring God as sufficient.

As you find yourself searching for God’s will for your life, I pray you’ll give up on Google and other modes of striving more quickly than I have. He who call us is faithful- He will do it (1 Thessalonians 5:24.)

We don’t have to get with a program or keep up with the deadlines in our heads- we have only to be draw near and be still in His will. Stay close to Him, and you’ll get where He is leading you.


headshot pro onlineA learner at heart, Bethany McIlrath believes that listening to the Lord’s Word and being attentive to all that He teaches her through daily life is a priceless blessing. Eager to share about her Savior, you can find Bethany’s writing on her blog: She would love to connect with you on Twitter or Facebook as well.



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