"Don't work too hard!" Ever heard that? Though it's important to have a good work ethic on the clock, trying to live the Christian life in your own strength is another story.
I consider myself a fairly independent girl. I like to earn my own money and find my way without asking for directions. Unfortunately, this carried over into my spiritual life by working my hardest to live for God. What's wrong with that? Living the Christian life in our own strength is not just incredibly aggravating, it's impossible. Paul puts it this way in Romans 7:22-23:
23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
I'm going to take a wild shot in the dark and just assume that if you're reading this, you desire to please God with your life. My problem was, I was trying too hard. Because of the law of sin that we're under, any righteousness we can dish out is as filthy rags, fit for nothing.
If you feel like you're constantly running into a brick wall, maybe you should reevaluate who you're relying on to get the job done. At the time I struggled with this, I was doing everything I knew to go forward spiritually: I read my Bible, prayed, had good friends, and even went on visitation. Yet, I was still relying on me. I was doing everything I knew... God wasn't even invited into the picture. Sure, I was praying to Him, but my prayers were something like, "Please help me to do my best today, so I won't do such-and-such." Finally I crashed.
I wasn't getting anywhere spiritually. Actually, everything was getting worse. I went down by the baseball field by my dorm where it was quiet, sat by a tree, and told God that I was giving up. I had tried and tried, over and over, and nothing was working. I did everything I knew to do, but my condition only worsened. I told God that I couldn't do it.
And that's when things started to change.
25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. -Romans 7:25
All God needs to work in your life is for you to admit that you can't do it on your own. I might be somewhat independent, but my spiritual health hinges on me being totally dependent on God. Don't think that just because your New Year's resolution is to improve on a certain area in life that "it'll just come to you." Victory in the Christian life is victory in Jesus, not in all the labor we put into changing closer into His image.
If you're striving to improve your spiritual life and finding it impossible, you're trying too hard. Let go and let God! Victory comes from Him alone, and He is just waiting for you to give the hard stuff to Him. The day I finally let Him handle my situation, He started working a miracle. Whatever your problem is, the answer is Christ. Stop "trying" and let God fight your battles for you. Victory is guaranteed!