Striving Together
Ally Vertigan
October 24, 2023

Therefore prepare your minds for action; discipline yourselves; set all your hope on the grace that Jesus Christ will bring you when he is revealed.
~ 1 Peter 1:13

Every once in a while, I think about throwing my cell phone in the Chicago River. Or dropping it on the ground in Thatcher Woods. Or leaving it in the seatback pocket on an airplane.

“Wouldn’t it be nice,” I ask myself, “to not deal with the pinging, the buzzing, the constant temptation to buy something or watch something? The pressure!” Wistfully, I think I will take more walks or read more books. I’ll finally do that puzzle we got for Christmas three years ago. I’ll put more cards in the mail. I’ll pray. I’ll sip tea peacefully on the back porch.

If you have thoughts like this, too, I’ll first recommend this book about setting boundaries with technology. For you, maybe it isn’t a cell phone. Perhaps something else has its hold on you in a way you don’t love and you’re dealing with that as best you can with your current capacity. Maybe you are striving, trying again (or for the first time), to shift some patterns within yourself or your life.

I’m not here to tell you how to do whatever it is you may be trying to do in your own life. What I am here to tell you is that you are in good company. You are not alone. The people of God have been working on themselves for a long time. We are all works-in-progress and recipients of God’s grace just as we are. This is true today and has been true for centuries. Maybe that’s why we see tidbits like this from scripture.

That striving is what stands out to me from this word from 1 Peter. If the people had had everything all figured out, would they need this reminder for preparation and discipline? Would they need to be reoriented toward the hope for grace? I’m not sure they would. We’d say the writer is preaching to the choir.

You are not alone in your desire for growth – whatever that growth looks like. You are in company with all of God’s people in your striving to be molded, over and over again, into a new creation.

God of the ages, we give thanks for your guidance throughout our lives, and the lives of those who have come before us. Bless us with the gifts of your steadfast encouragement and fortitude. Teach us your wisdom all the days of our lives. May we be the truest versions of ourselves each day. Amen.