Thursday, March 24, 2011

Don't Push the River

Many years ago, I purchased a small stone plaque for my husband.  He is a man who is driven, who believes his work is never good enough and that he is never good enough.  For that reason, he is always trying to do even more, even better.  It is no surprise, then, that he burns out in a very short time and then feels the need to move on to the next 'best thing.' 

This little plaque literally fell into my hands as I was shopping one day.  When I turned it to read I was so taken by the words, "Don't push the river.  It flows all by itself."  I immediately thought of my spouse and his efforts were exactly that.  He was trying to  "push the river."  What a miserable way to live as it is an impossible task.  It sat on his desk for many years.  After we divorced I had forgotten about it until recently when something, I'm not even sure what, brought it back into my memory banks.

I, too, have been guilty at times of trying to 'push the river.'  I think that most days I understand that it is pointless to attempt to do so, but there are those days when I'm tired or I'm overwhelmed that I begin to feel like I'm carrying the whole world on my shoulders.  I am thankful that when that happens now I recognize the 'symptoms' and am immediately reminded of the cure.  I don't have to carry this burden.   I don't have to push the river.  It will flow very well without any help from me. 

I recently had a conversation with a dear one regarding her comment, "Let go and let God."  My question was, "How do you know that you've done what you're supposed to do and when to 'let go?'  I never really got an answer to that question from her, but I did find an answer elsewhere.  It's ALL about letting go.  It's about listening to that voice inside of you, but more than that you have to take action on what that voice tells you.  It's not enough just to listen.  We all hear it, but we don't all do something about it. 

If we will listen to the voice (I believe that's God's channel) and then do what He has told us to do, we don't have to wonder, we don't have to worry.  It doesn't even have to make sense to us.  We just have to know and understand that it is right, in this moment, because it is.  We may not ever know the why and that's all right.  Each act that we undertake produces an effect of some kind.  It's our task in life to learn from what we've done, good and bad, but we can only do that if we have taken action.  Nothing is learned by sitting and thinking about it, wishing for a 'miracle' to happen.  Certainly, God performs miracles and sometimes He uses us to do it.  That's a miracle right there!

So this morning I urge you to catch yourself as you try to push the river.  It really will lighten your load if you'll just let it flow....all by itself.                        Blessings to you!

For additional thoughts on listening I encourage you to check out this post ( from a Flourishing Life.


Marilyn Jean said...

"Don't Push the River, It Flows by Itself" is one of my husband's favorite sayings. I know from having breast cancer that control is an illusion that we give ourselves to feel safe but everyone's life turns on a dime.

Having said that, I know it is easier said than done. But I know that I truly am not responsible for making sure the sun rises, the river flows, or that my children are always perfectly happy. I can support but not control. That has been my hardest life lesson so far.

Thank you for this post.

Ereline said...

Marilyn, you are so right! Although I have never been faced with cancer myself, I have been with my dad through two bouts of colon cancer. The last one included a colostomy. It's a real slap in the face to be faced with these life-changing intrusions. For someone who has, for most of my life, been fighting the "control" demon, it was a real reminder that the best we can do is to love and support.

Thanks so much for your input! I really value your comments!
Blessings to you!