Striving vs. Abiding

In the spiritual life, it’s difficult to know whether striving to do God’s will or just abiding in him is better. But why can’t we do both?

Fr. Mike tells the story of a perpetually active student athlete. His inability to disengage in doing things and just abide in God was a problem, and he knew it. 

Fr. Mike advised him, it’s not that abiding is right and striving is wrong. It’s important to do, but it’s important to also know what not to do in order to acquire the goal you’re living for.

There are many reasons why we choose to commit to activities, whether it’s for fear of missing out, liking being needed, needing to be liked. The list goes on. But if I find myself unable to rest, do I have a clear vision of what I really want out of life?

Being slightly engaged and not knowing what you’re striving for can be more exhausting than being fully engaged while knowing what you’re striving for. 

It’s important to know when, where, and how I need rest, to know when to just abide in God, like Mary and not Martha (see Luke 10:38-42).

In any given hour, you can be called to strive like Martha in one moment and abide like Mary in the next; to do something one moment and just be in the next. The best thing is when you know you’re doing the right thing and you get to abide in God as well because you know you’re doing his will.

Check out the Abiding Together podcast for more discussions on this topic.

Meet Fr. Mike Schmitz

Fr. Mike Schmitz serves as Director of youth and young adult ministry for the Diocese of Duluth and as chaplain for the Newman Catholic Campus Ministry at the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

He is a presenter in Ascension’s ChosenAltaration, and The 99 programs, and has a channel on Ascension Presents.